With fans already on edge after the Kansas City Chiefs used another first round pick on a defensive lineman, the news that the team and Dontari Poe—the 11th-overall pick in this year’s draft—aren’t close on a deal only creates more of an uneasy feeling about Poe’s prospects as the player the organization needs him to be.
Upon inking the rest of the rookie class to deals rather quickly, general manager Scott Pioli showed a sense of urgency towards the 2012 season. The front office promptly handling the business side of the game makes it easier for the coaching staff to focus on “football” matters.
For Poe and the other rookies, training camp is crucial. Just ask second-year players Justin Houston and Jon Baldwin how much that extra time would have expedited their growth as rookies last year (the lockout and injuries took much of their time away from training camp in 2011). Reducing the external pressures on young player allows them to make a more seamless transition into the NFL.
The new CBA was supposed to take away the negotiating power from the players and their agents, so waiting to make a deal only raises questions about Poe’s desire to live up to expectations.
Training camp opens Friday, so there is still time for Poe and the Chiefs to get a deal done. But if the two sides do not reach an agreement, a holdout is the last thing this team needs heading into the 2012 season.