July 16came and went with no long-term contract for Dwayne Bowe, leaving the fate of a great fantasy player up in the air for another year. The Chiefs are one of six teams to have used the franchise tag the past two years (Tamba Hali last year), and would do well to avoid a third straight year (Oakland is the only organization that currently holds third straight year status, which is surprising because they seem soooo well run otherwise). Because this time of year lends itself to lists, here’s five potential franchise tag scenarios for 2013:
1. Dwayne Bowe (again) Players can be franchised two straight years and three times total over their career. So while we could conceivably witness this rodeo return to town next summer, there’s certainly no one calling for it. Wide receivers are the divas of the NFL, and Bowe seems continually unable to shake his reputation for it. While his attitude deserves more credit than the general media typically affords, I can’t imagine him playing with great enthusiasm if franchised a second time. This year may provide the impetus to work even harder for a lofty payday in 2013, but two straight years would shake the already suspect focus he brings to the field.
2. Dustin Colquitt Colquitt has proven a reliable and strong leg, and is good enough to provide the margin of victory in a tight game an average punter wouldn’t. At issue: you’re using your franchise tag on a friggin’ punter. Yet while this scenario seems ridiculous at first, consider five teams placed tags on kickers this year while the Giants tagged punter Steve Weatherford. With cap space remaining and few major contracts expiring next year, this is a distinct possibility if the Chiefs can’t come to an agreement with Colquitt. And yes, he is worth the money.
3. Branden Albert This is the one that really worries me. Albert is due a major raise, and this is what’s known for certain: Branden Albert is talented; Albert has progressed in the system; continuity was an important factor in the success of those early 2000s line that elevated Priest Holmes to legendary status; we definitely want this guy back. Something to watch is the number of other big name left tackles with contracts expiring next year. Jake Long (Dolphins), Ryan Clady (Broncos), and Duane Brown (Texans) are among the potential free agents that could help keep reduce the price of left tackles as elite supply hits the open market.
4. Glenn Dorsey I loved the Dorsey pick in the 2008 draft. I’ve regretted it ever since. There’s no doubt Dorsey is a serviceable starting defensive lineman, but with a contract of $51 million over five years we’ve already pumped enough money into this guy. I’d like to see Dorsey re-signed, but he wouldn’t be worth the franchise tag. Interestingly, the 3-4 defense works against the Chiefs in this situation. In 2010, the non-exclusive franchise tag was $12.4 million for a defensive end and $7 million for a defensive tackle. In the 4-3, where Dorsey played DT, he would command about 35 percent less than as a DE in the 3-4 scheme.
5. Brady Quinn Just for fun, let’s pretend Matt “Please Just Manage the Game and Don’t Blow It” Cassel cedes his role to Quinn at some point in the season and the 2007 draft’s crying spectacle rediscovers his first-round talent while slinging his way to the Pro Bowl. I think I read once that Kansas City has assembled a very talented roster and is one above average quarterback away from being truly great. If Charlie Weis is correct and Quinn proves his chops, we could have our man. When this happens, hit me up for some winning lottery numbers.
Peyton Hillis Bonus! Hillis only signed a one-year contract and, assuming he’s only using the Chiefs as a springboard to another team as a feature back, won’t be sporting an arrowhead on his helmet next year. Unless…
A couple other contracts of note set to expire next year are Donald Washington, Jovan Belcher, and Ryan Lilja. Washington and Belcher haven’t proven critical to the team’s success, while a replacement plan for Lilja may already be underway as Jeff Allen is brought up. Address one or two items, and the Scott Pioli process looks to have legitimately set the franchise up for long-term success.