When you look at the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiving position right now it looks to be a pretty solid group of players. There's no question that the talent is there to make this one of the best in all of football. Dwayne Bowe is a legitimate No. 1 receiver and Steve Breaston is a solid option on the other side. The talent that Jon Baldwin brings to the position rivals that of a Calvin Johnson or Andre Johnson. He has that kind of a ceiling in my opinion because the physical traits are all there.
Then you take the young players like Devon Wylie and Dexter McCluster. They both bring the speed and game-breaking ability that forces defensive coordinators to account for their whereabouts every time they're out on the field. At least in the case of McCluster at this point considering Wylie hasn't stepped on the field yet.
We won't even talk about the other guys at the position that could make some kind of an impact as No. 4/5 players at the position that should make a healthy contribution on special teams. That's guys like Terrance Copper and Jeremy Horne.
In looking at the top five wide receivers on the team it's fair to say that two of them might not be with the team in two years. When you try and look at this team and how they could shape up within the next few years at each position it's the wide receiver position that appears to be pretty solid at first glance, but there are some things that need to be sewed up to solidify that spot for down the road.
One of those things is obvious in how they are going to deal with Dwayne Bowe and a possible contract extension. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride said this past week on Chop Talk that he was told by Dwayne Bowe himself that he was excited to get back to work with his teammates and that he would be there for the team this season. Joel came away optimistic that the situation may not turn out to be as contentious as many believed in probably would become. That's got to be good news for Chiefs fans that are hoping that the No. 1 option for Matt Cassel stays in Kansas City for the better years of his career.
The other decision they're going to have to make is in regards to Steve Breaston. There aren't a lot of people talking about Breaston possibly not playing out the entire five-year contract that he had signed when he came over from the Arizona Cardinals. From a contract standpoint I think it's fair to say that Breaston needs to continue to make his mark on the offense if he's going to get to a couple of these paydays down the road.
Breaston is due just over $2.05 million in base salary in 2012, with an additional $2.5 million in bonuses for a cap hit of $4.55 million. In 2013 Breaston's contract jumps to $3.8 million in base salary, with just $1.2 million in bonuses for a cap hit of right at $5 million. In 2014 his base salary decreases to $3 million with an additional $2.2 million in bonuses for a cap hit of $5.2 million. The final year of his deal is in 2015 when he has a base salary of $4.1 million and bonuses around $2.2 million for a final cap hit in 2015 of $6.3 million.
I think Breaston is going to have to earn that salary in 2013 as his base salary almost doubles from $2.05 to $3.8. million. It's a good contract for a solid option at wide receiver with a ceiling below any No. 1 receiver. But if Jon Baldwin can develop into a No. 1 type player (like Bowe is now) and the fact that Baldwin's cap hit numbers never even reach $2.3 million before he's an UFA in 2015, it could affect value placed on the wide receiver position as a whole.
A lot of different options come into play depending upon what they decide to do with Dwayne Bowe. If they sign Bowe to a big-money extension AND Baldwin develops into a big-time player, could that make Breaston expendable? It could depending upon how the rest of the guys develop at the position. It's something to keep an eye on as the Bowe contract situation continues to stay at the front of the news-cycle in Chiefs land.