Dwayne Bowe might not be worth the money needed to keep him on the roster, but the Kansas City Chiefs have a few other players they should hold on to.
Branden Albert and Glenn Dorsey both need new contracts and neither will come cheap. Kansas City could use part of this year's remaining salary cap to re-sign them, but would still need room for their new contracts next year.
Jovan Belcher is another Chief needing an extension. Belcher isn't the most talented starter on defense but excels at what he does: stopping the run.
Letting Bowe go now would help fund those contracts, and would also provide additional flexibility in free agency should the Chiefs desire to plunge into that pool again. Given the current roster, a solid veteran backup quarterback would be an imperative.
But the biggest benefit to trading Bowe comes in direct compensation. The Chiefs are already positioned for a top pick in the draft. With such a high pick (possibly even No. 1 overall), the Chiefs will likely have no choice but to select a quarterback in the first round—hopefully West Virgina's Geno Smith.
After that is when it gets interesting, though. The Chiefs will likely also get a third-round compensatory pick for Brandon Carr, plus what they get for Bowe. Should they acquire a first and third-round pick, the Chiefs can start wheeling and dealing for picks in the future. The goal would be to trade out of the first-round pick to gain a second-round pick in 2013 and a first in 2014.
With two second and three third-round picks, the Chiefs could still make some serious upgrades at a number of positions. 2013 appears to be a deep draft at cornerback, and Kansas City could use more depth behind Brandon Flowers and competition for Stanford Routt. The roster could deepen at inside linebacker as well with a player like Stanford's Shayne Skov. To call Skov a character would be an understatement, but the Chiefs could use a loud and aggressive player to help define their defense.
That still leaves Kansas City with three selections in the first 100 picks, maybe four if they secure the top pick of the draft. This could translate into more depth on offensive line or another safety for injury insurance.
One position the Chiefs might really not need to draft at is wide receiver. Kansas City already has Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster to fill the top three positions; if Baldwin starts to play like a true starter, the Chiefs might not even miss Bowe.
And if he doesn't, someone like Terrance Williams should be waiting at the top of the second round for the Chiefs to scoop him up.
So the Chiefs can continue to pretend the sky isn't falling and Bowe will happily stay in Kansas City for a couple bucks. Or they can cut their losses now and sell while Bowe's stock is high and give fans a team to really cheer for in 2013.