Fans have jumped off the Dwayne Bowe bandwagon this offseason while a long-term contract disagreement leads to today's holdout.
The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Bowe, unwilling to make him a top-five paid wide receiver. However, Scott Pioli, Chiefs general manager, values Bowe's ability to play football and wants to keep him on the team. Despite Pioli's fear of Bowe dropping passes, he believes he is a vital part of the team's success in 2012 and does not want to trade him away.
The Chiefs are currently holding training camp in St. Joseph, Mo. while preparing for their first preseason contest this Friday against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium without Bowe. Meanwhile, Jon Baldwin, last year's first-round draft pick for the Chiefs, is getting all of the attention in training camp as the No. 1 receiver. If Bowe were to show up today, he would be held out of Friday's game.
Last week, I wrote a column on Bowe's holdout and how it won't accomplish anything. As Bowe continues to miss camp, fans are more than open to the idea that Bowe should be traded, because the team is better off without him.
Bowe's holdout is not good for him for three reasons. Because of his history of drops, it's crucial that he is in camp with quarterback Matt Cassel to create a better offensive chemistry and improve on his biggest weakness. Bowe is also behind the eight ball while the rest of the offense is getting used to Brian Daboll's new offense. On top of that, Bowe's long holdout could translate into a struggling 2012 season, which might hurt his chances of ever becoming a top-five paid wide receiver in the NFL, whether it is with the Chiefs or another team in the future.
But if Bowe was to show up today, he could get used to Daboll's offense sooner than some might think. He didn't participate in training camp for a little bit in 2007, yet he finished as the top rookie receiver that year.
Fast forward to 2012.
Bowe has to become a fast learner once again and get the hang of a brand new offense since he is holding out. Even though there is no negotiating going on due to the new rules with Bowe only being able to play for $9.5 million, he is taking advantage of his time off without a receiving any sort of fine.
This seems to be the explanation as to why fans don't care for Bowe, let alone the fact that fans don't mind if he was traded away. While it is understandable as to why fans are disgruntled with Bowe, they should reconsider their thoughts on wanting him out.
Let's not forget that this is a passing league. Ten quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards last season. Ten years ago, only Kurt Warner crossed the 4,000-passing yard mark.
The Chiefs want Cassel to be part of the quarterback class that passes for 4,000 yards. Although Bowe is not being a helpful teammate by sitting at home, he will come to his senses if he wants his money. Hopefully he comes to his senses sooner than later. Regardless, when the Chiefs have Bowe and Baldwin together, Cassel has two first-round receivers to throw to and a lot of reliable targets who are good for their positions.
The Chiefs have serviceable backups in their receiving core. The Chiefs have Steve Breaston, who can be a good slot receiver with Bowe and Baldwin as their starters. The Chiefs receiving corps will most likely include Dexter McCluster and rookie Devon Wylie. The Chiefs also have Tony Moeaki, Kevin Boss, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis as viable pass-catchers.
The Chiefs are set at running back and should do well in the rushing game. If they can get Bowe and Baldwin to gel together as starters, they could be a three-dimensional offense this season and allow Cassel to work with an elite offense.
Chiefs fans are not satisfied with Bowe's actions at the moment, but that does not mean they should be fine with the idea of him being gone just because they don't appreciate his current decision making.
The Chiefs are not letting it be a distraction, but that does not mean his absence is not missed. By the time this is all over with, Bowe will play with the Chiefs and try to help the new offense take back the AFC West. If he does do well and improves on his woes, the fans may keep quiet and not repeat the comments they are making now.
It is okay to be unhappy with Bowe's absence. However, don't be sold on the idea that the team will be perfectly fine without him. While Baldwin is capable of making big plays, he and the rest of the team need Bowe. Both parties need each other, and by the time they come together, opposing defensive coordinators will need a strong game plan to stop the Chiefs' offense.
But the draft pick of Baldwin was never intended for replacing Bowe. The intention of selecting Baldwin was to give Cassel a powerful receiving threat to work with in games, and it requires both Baldwin and Bowe. The Chiefs have a lot of potential with Bowe on the team.