Dwayne Bowe is on course to be known as the greatest wide receiver in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately for his potential legacy, the Chiefs are likely going to keep the necessary longevity from happening. By missing the extension deadline yesterday for players saddled with the franchise tag, Bowe will be forced to play out the 2012 NFL season and deal with the ramifications of having no deal after the Super Bowl. That could likely make Bowe a free agent.
Bowe is currently No. 8 on the Chiefs all-time receiving yards list. It's anchored by the 10K+ yards by tight end Tony Gonzalez, but Bowe could surpass everyone else on the list -- from Otis Taylor and Henry Marshall to Stephone Paige and Carlos Carson -- in just two seasons. That's far less time than anyone else needed to be on that list. In short, even with subpar or league-average quarterbacks and offenses geared toward running the ball, Bowe has excelled and given the Chiefs a legitimate target.
If the Chiefs want to keep Bowe after the coming 2012 NFL season, it will either happen in one of two ways. Here's the breakdown and the reason that each is not likely to happen:
1. The Chiefs could franchise Bowe again.
This move would place Bowe squarely among the top five receivers in the game of football, which is exactly what the franchise tag is intended to do. Teams who want to secure their players with the tag must pay top dollar for them. Is Pioli really going to invest $11.4 million in an offseason where he also has to worry about the locking up Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Branden Albert and several other starters?
2. The Chiefs could come to a new agreement with Bowe.
This is the most compelling possibility for the Chiefs. Bowe could realize his heart is in Kansas City after another year playing at Arrowhead. The team could wake up to the idea that they need both Baldwin and Bowe to keep defenses honest for a quarterback like Matt Cassel (or even to give a new quarterback the targets he would need). Perhaps Scott Pioli wants one more year to see Bowe keep his head on straight and lead this team offensively.
However the most likely scenario is that Bowe will play out this year and treat it as a contract season. Therefore, don't be surprised if Bowe performs very well in 2012. It's likely the Chiefs will watch him walk out the door and hope that Jon Baldwin develops this year into a No. 1 receiver the team drafted him to be.
There's still some flexibility, but the signs display an exit sign in Bowe's future after the 2012 campaign is over. Perhaps not, and here's hoping, but a legacy might be short-lived after all.