Realistic Best and Worst Case Scenarios for Chiefs New Contract with Dwayne Bowe
The Kansas City Chiefs must like to keep things interesting.
It took until the 11th hour, but the Chiefs pulled off quite the coup on Monday. The team was able to retain their two highest profile free agents, signing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a five-year extension and slapping the franchise tag on offensive tackle Branden Albert.
As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports, financial terms of the deal have yet to be released, but it's not unreasonable to assume that the deal pays Bowe upwards of $10 million a season, which is a significant investment.
Here's a look at some best and worst-case scenarios for what sort of return the Chiefs can expect for that investment.
Best Case: Dwayne Bowe Circa 2010
When Dwayne Bowe is on his game, he can be one of the most talented wideouts in the NFL.
That was clearly evident in 2010 when, in spite of quarterback play that was average at best, Bowe still managed to reel in 72 catches for 1,162 yards and an NFL-leading 15 touchdowns.
If Bowe can do that with Matt Cassel, imagine what he can do with the much more accurate Alex Smith at quarterback.
The Chiefs likely were when they wrote Bowe that fat check.
Worst Case: Dwayne Bowe Circa 2012
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Granted, it's not entirely fair to count Bowe's horrible 2012 production against him, since the quarterback play in Kansas City last year was somewhere between terrible and the Arizona Cardinals.
However, last year's disaster in Kansas City also showed the more unpleasant side of Bowe's personality.
Bowe dragged his feet about reporting last year after being hit with the franchise tag, and at times during Kansas City's woeful 2-14 season he appeared to be dragging his feet on the field as well.
In fact, just a couple of weeks ago Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reported that some teams were wary of Bowe's effort level and how a big payday might affect it.
Dwayne Bowe is far from the only wide receiver that's something of a pain in the neck, but he'd also be far from the first NFL player to slack off after getting a huge payday.
Best Case: Bowe and Alex Smith Are Peas and Carrots
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It's a storyline that's been beaten to death, but it bears mentioning again.
Dwayne Bowe's NFL career has been spent playing for a, how shall I say it, less-than-elite group of quarterbacks.
From Damon Huard to Matt Cassel to Brady Quinn, Bowe has caught passes thrown at his feet and over his head from a collection of busts and bums that boggles the brain.
In Alex Smith, Bowe will now be reeling in balls from a quarterback who completed over 70 percent of his passes and had a quarterback rating of over 100 last year.
Those numbers must be music to Bowe's ears, and it may well be that he can't wait to develop a rapport with the Chiefs' new starting quarterback.
Worst Case: Bowe and Alex Smith Are Oil and Water
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However, while Alex Smith experienced a career renaissance in San Francisco over the past couple of years, that resurgence brings with it some caveats.
After being the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, Smith spent his first six seasons being labeled a colossal bust before finally thriving under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
That's due in large part to the fact that Harbaugh's game plan played to Smith's strengths while covering up his weaknesses.
Smith's accuracy and effectiveness are tied much more to playcalling, receivers running precise routes and timing than it is to the strength of his right arm.
Meanwhile, Bowe is much more athlete than tactician, and that could lead to problems down the road.
Best Case: The Chiefs Make the Playoffs
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If nothing else, trading for Alex Smith, signing Dwayne Bowe and tagging Branden Albert shows that the new regime in Kansas City is serious about taking steps to turn things around.
The team has a decent offensive line, a very good running back in Jamaal Charles, and a defense that is much better than last year's stats indicate.
However, if Smith is going to be successful in his first year in Kansas City he will need a "go-to" target in the passing game.
The Chiefs obviously want Dwayne Bowe to be that guy.
If Bowe steps up and performs in a manner in which he's capable, then it's not that big a stretch to see the Chiefs as the sort of nine or 10-win team that can sneak in and snatch up a playoff spot.
As the Indianapolis Colts showed in 2012, teams can go from the outhouse to the penthouse very quickly in the NFL.
Worst Case: The Chiefs Will Pick in the Top Five Again in 2014
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New head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey have certainly been aggressive in trying to right the ship in Kansas City, but none of the moves they've made come without risk.
Will Branden Albert's troublesome back hold up?
Will Reid implement an offense that plays to Smith's strengths, or will his pass-happy ways and stubborn refusal to run the ball follow him west?
Will Dwayne Bowe step up his game now that he's gotten paid, or will the concerns about his drops and effort level that I alluded to earlier become justified?
If even one of those areas doesn't pan out for the Chiefs, that could be all it takes, and the team could be left in the exact same position next year that they are in 2013:
Trying to figure out what to do with a high draft pick.