A team desperate for a franchise receiver with plenty of money to spend and a receiver who wants to be considered (and paid like) a star seem like a perfect match.
Yet as the start of training camp nears for the Kansas City Chiefs, it's looking more likely that franchise tagged Dwayne Bowe will make a statement by showing up late and waiting to sign his one-year $9.5 million contract.
Scott Pioli believes when it comes to the holdouts of Bowe and first round pick Dontari Poe that "those things will work themselves out." Bowe will eventually sign -- the other option is to sit out the season -- but by showing up late to camp, Bowe will send the message that he feels underappreciated.
As the underappreciater, the Chiefs risk losing a legitimate franchise receiver. This is a franchise that has had two receivers make the Pro Bowl since 1990: an aging Andre Rison in 1997 and Bowe in 2010.
The Chiefs and Bowe had until July 16 to work out a long-term deal and they could not. Kansas City now has until next March to decide who (if anyone) to place the franchise tag on for the 2013 season. Signing Bowe to a long-term deal would allow them to instead use the tag on Branden Albert or Glenn Dorsey.
With the new collective bargaining agreement, it's in the Chiefs' best interest to work out a deal. To put the franchise tag* on Bowe for a straight year, Kansas City would have to pay him $11.4 million, which is 120 percent of what he will make this year, assuming he signs his tender.
*If this dog and pony show somehow went on for a third year and the Chiefs would put the tag on Bowe in 2014; they would have to pay him $16.4 million -- or 144 percent of what he made the previous year.
A few contracts to consider from this past offseason as the Chiefs and Bowe negotiate.
- Buffalo's Steve Johnson signed a five-year deal worth $36.25 million ($18.05 million guaranteed).
- New Orleans signed Marques Colston to a five-year deal worth $36.3 million ($17.7 million guaranteed).
- Philadelphia signed DeSean Jackson to a five-year deal worth $47 million ($15 million guaranteed).
- Detroit's Calvin Johnson became the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, signing an eight-year deal for $150.5 million ($60 million guaranteed).
Where does Bowe rank in that group? Should he be paid like a star?
As much as the Chiefs throw the ball his way -- he was targeted 275 times the last two seasons -- it would appear so. Only seven receivers have more targets during that time. Bowe also has the argument that the one season when he had an above average season from his quarterback, he led the NFL with 15 touchdown catches and made the Pro Bowl in 2010.
As the Chiefs have struggled to find a franchise receiver, they've also struggled to find a franchise QB, shuffling in has-beens and other team's backups the last couple decades. These are the quarterbacks Bowe has caught passes from: Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel. He's been like a big man without a true point guard. That's more leverage for Bowe.
But Bowe also has his flaws. Since 2008, he has more drops (37) than any NFL receiver. In Bowe's best season in 2010, he only had five drops, but last year he was back to his old self, dropping 12 passes.
Once Bowe suits up this season, he'll have one last chance to prove his worth in Kansas City. The Chiefs have the cap space to spend -- they're currently $16.54 million under the cap; only three teams have more space. And they have the need, probably more so than any other suitor, unless Jon Baldwin turns into a star this year.
Until March, it's a waiting game. Both Johnsons, Jackson and Colston all signed their deals this past March, and Bowe cannot sign a long-term deal until after the season.
The two sides have seven months to figure out they need each other.