Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe is cutting off his nose to spite his face.
There is no other way to put it.
We’ve been highly critical of the Chiefs brass on this site when we feel they step out of line and to be sure, we’ve got some gripes with their latest antics of using your tax dollars to pay their tax bills.
But on the issue of Dwayne Bowe’s holdout, it is hard not to get behind the Chiefs.
I believe Dwayne Bowe has earned a reasonable, long-term deal. I’ve long said that until the Chiefs have three wide receivers better than Bowe that they had no business letting him walk. Since the departure of Tony Gonzalez, Bowe has been the only legit WR threat the Chiefs have had.
But the Chiefs aren’t letting Bowe walk. They’ve franchised him and have offered him a one-year deal worth about $9.5 million dollars.
We have no way of knowing what was going on behind closed doors in the negotiations between the Chiefs and Bowe. We’ll likely never find out if Bowe was asking for way too much money or if the Chiefs were offering an insultingly low amount.
But the club has offered him $9 million and that is nothing to sneeze at.
Yet Bowe is doing just that.
I understand Bowe’s initial holdout. It made sense. Before the deadline for franchise players to secure a long-term deal, it made sense for Bowe to wait. He had nothing to gain by signing the tag before the deadline. That is why I was convinced that once the deadline did pass, Bowe would sign his deal and show up to camp.
Only he didn’t.
If this development doesn’t have you worried, it should. It should also make you angry.
Per the rules of the new CBA, Dwayne Bowe has to play the 2012 NFL season under the franchise contract tender the
Chiefs offered him. If he doesn’t play under that contract, he can’t play at all. He’ll get no money and he will also miss out on being credited for a full NFL season, which means he doesn’t get credit for playing a season under the tag, which means he can keep getting tagged. A player can only be tagged three times in his career, only twice by the same team. If Bowe’s goal is to get a long-term contract, sitting out the 2012 season will only delay that.
So what does Bowe have to gain by not showing up to Chiefs training camp on time?
So why is Bowe doing this?
Only he knows for sure but it certainly looks like the goal here is to screw over the Chiefs for not giving him what he wanted. His absence will set the offensive chemistry back. There is no doubt that the Chiefs are a better offensive football team with Bowe on the field so the longer he is away, the more the Chiefs will suffer.
What should really worry Chiefs fans is how much Bowe intends to hurt the Chiefs. There are a couple of possible outcomes here:
Bowe sits out the first week of camp.
Bowe could be planning to sit out the first week of camp in protest and to send a message. Then again, Bowe already sat out the OTA practices and the mandatory mini-camp so the message has certainly be sent.
Bowe sits out the entire St. Joseph portion of camp.
Sitting out the entire St. Joesph portion of training camp would certainly be a blow and could keep the Chiefs offense from hitting the ground running for the season opener. It would keep Bowe from having to go sweat in the heat and from having to stay in a dorm room away from home. I can see the draw there. If this is the goal then Bowe could show up for the last week of practices in Kansas City before the regular season starts. That was the scenario that ESPN’s Adam Schefter predicted just before the start of training camp.
Bowe sits out until Week 11.
Bowe has to play at least six games to accrue an NFL season. Sitting out the first 10 games would deal a severe blow to the Chiefs without hurting Bowe’s chances of becoming a free agent.
This scenario is unlikely for a couple of reasons. For starters, if Bowe doesn’t play, Bowe doesn’t get paid. He’ll miss game checks if he sits out.
Also, even though he’d accrue a season, Bowe could still be franchised by the Chiefs again next offseason. So while Bowe could make things ugly for the Chiefs, the Chiefs would still hold his rights meaning there would still be no guarantee that he’d become a free agent and get a long-term deal.
Looking at the above options, I’d say the most likely is that Bowe is simply sitting out training camp to screw the Chiefs and avoid having to go sweat it out. Most all NFL players hate camp and I am sure Bowe is no different.
If that is indeed the case or even if it isn’t, Bowe is a fool. He may be hurting the Chiefs but in the end, he is doing far more damage to himself.
Bowe’s best road to a long-term deal, whether it comes from the Chiefs or via free agency, is to show up, practice and have a career year. That would inflate Bowe’s value and either force the Chiefs to pay up or cut him loose. It is possible that they could franchise him again but there isn’t anything Bowe can do about that.
This holdout could drastically reduce Bowe’s effectiveness this season, thus drastically reducing his value as a potential free agent next season. He is likely to be way behind in learning Brian Daboll’s new offense he could very well find himself starting the season on the bench. Let’s also not forget that Bowe once showed up to camp extremely out of shape. While he may be working out during his holdout, there is no substitution for getting in football shape on the field in camp and preseason games. Not being prepared in the NFL can really kill a team and if you don’t believe me, just recall last offseason when head coach Todd Haley focused too much on conditioning and not enough on football practice. The Chiefs were horrid the first three games of 2011 and it ultimately cost the team a playoff spot and Haley his job.
Look, this is Bowe’s decision to make. It is his life, his money and his career. Maybe he can just show up the week before camp, learn the playbook, develop chemistry in the new offense and produce a terrific season. Bowe is, after all, a tremendous athlete. If he can miss all of camp and still show up and help the Chiefs win games, it’s no skin off my back.
Chances are, however, there will be some damage to both the Chiefs and Bowe.
Knowing the score here, it is hard not to shake your head at the whole situation, especially as reports continue to pour out of camp that WR Jonathan Baldwin is having a tremendous camp. By the time this mess plays out, Bowe could find himself as the #2 receiver on a team that likes to run the football. That, I promise you, won’t be raising his free agency stock.
Bowe already has a reputation of being a bit of a knucklehead. Should he turn in his second sub-par season in three years because of a foolish, spiteful holdout designed to get him out of training camp, that reputation will only grow.
Just in time for the Chiefs to anoint Jonathan Baldwin as their new star receiver…while giving Dwayne Bowe what he wants; a shot at free agency.