There’s been a bit of talk this week about Dwayne Bowe wanting out in Kansas City. It’s not a total shock – he wants a big contract and received the franchise tag instead. The Chiefs have started poorly at 1-5 and there’s serious front office unrest with speculation about the future of GM Scott Pioli.
It’s not long since Kansas City’s last re-launch when they initially appointed Pioli, but they appear destined for another. Let’s go back to the early days of that regime. In 2010 Matt Cassel held together a pretty good ball-control offense – they ran with Jamaal Charles, dominated time of possession and Bowe was an unstoppable force in the red zone. He didn’t make a ton of big, downfield plays (1162 yards on a 16.2 average) but he had 15 touchdowns.
Things spiralled a bit last year and the Chiefs are unravelling again in 2012. Bowe’s maintaining his production, but he wants a big contract after receiving the franchise tag this year. Miami has a big need at receiver after trading Brandon Marshall and own a lot of draft capital after moving on Vontae Davis. The Dolphins should be working hard to add a player like Dwayne Bowe to make like easy for rookie Ryan Tannehill. The question is – should the Seahawks be making a similar push for the same reasons?
Russell Wilson is starting to get more from his receivers but he lacks a truly excellent red zone threat. Just think how much easier life would be if he had that particular weapon? Bowe is a machine from close range and would be an effective compliment to the likes of Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. The one thing Seattle’s offense lacks is that big target who creates problems in the red zone – they don’t have a dominating tight end or big bodied receiver who fills that role. Do the Seahawks beat Arizona in week one with Dwayne Bowe on the field for that final drive? We’ll never know.
While the Dolphins are very much in year one of a substantial rebuild, the Seahawks might be entering a period where they move from rebuilding to contender. This is the kind of time when you consider the right move to push your team to the next level. Sure, Bowe isn’t Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or A.J. Green. But it would fill a significant need. Unless he hits free agency next year – there aren’t likely to be many alternatives.
The counter argument is two fold. Firstly, Bowe has just turned 28 and may only have 2-3 years of top-end production left in his body before he inherits the ‘possession receiver’ tag. You’d have to believe he can hit the ground running and have an immediate impact. Secondly, the cost would be pretty high. This isn’t a great time to sign a veteran receiver to a new deal – Calvin Johnson penned a $132m deal in March and Larry Fitzgerald signed a $120m deal last year. Bowe won’t expect to earn as much as that, but the top end of the market is set and it’ll filter down. That’s why a guy like Antonio Brown gets a $42.5m deal from Pittsburgh and why players like Bowe, Wes Welker and Mike Wallace are unhappy to get tagged. They’re missing out on their slice of the pie.
Seattle is already paying Sidney Rice $8.2m in 2012 and he’s due $9.7m in 2013 and 2014. Zach Miller is getting $7m this year and is due $11m in 2013. When you’re due to pay two guys over $20m for not a lot of production, it’s difficult to start plotting a move to bring in another expensive veteran. It seems unlikely Rice and Miller will survive with those contracts next year unless they explode over the next 10 games, but paying the big bucks in free agency hasn’t worked for this team so far. Compare it to the production found from guys like Chris Clemons (modest trade), Brandon Browner (CFL addition), Marshawn Lynch (added for a 4th rounder and change) and Richard Sherman (5th round pick) and the Seahawks could be forgiven for abandoning big splashes for the foreseeable future.
Yet there is still that argument where Bowe provides the team with the one thing they really miss on offense – red zone production. Touchdowns. So while it would be very easy to rule this out, I kind of feel like this is a deal that would be attractive. The last trade of a similar ilk saw Brandon Marshall traded from Denver to Miami for two second round picks in 2010. Marshall not only had superior production to Bowe, but he was two years younger. He agreed a four-year deal with the Dolphins worth $47.5m.
As we know, the Seahawks showed interest in Marshall too. They also had at least a passing glance at Vincent Jackson when he was in San Diego. If the Chiefs get into a position where they’re resigned to losing Bowe, they may be willing to trade him for a second round pick – perhaps with a conditional pick thrown in based on production in 2013. That’s the kind of deal that should appeal to a team like the Seahawks. It frees them up to look at other areas in the first round of the draft in 2013, they get an immediate dangerous red-zone threat and bolster the offense in the process.
Another big stumbling block could be Kansas City’s reluctance to deal. If Scott Pioli is fighting for his job, he’s surely not going to start trading away the teams best players so that his replacement can spend all the picks they acquired. Yet there’s been enough talk this week about Bowe’s desire to leave to suggest the issue could be forced.
People will have their own views on this. For a second round pick, I think Bowe would be a calculated gamble. I’m not sure the Chiefs should look at that as a bad deal for an unhappy receiver approaching 30 and playing on the franchise tag. Plus Kansas City’s front office did spend a first round pick on Jonathan Baldwin last year. They surely cannot expect to get much more than a second round pick under the circumstances?
**Note** – I’m guessing a few more people will be willing to consider this tonight. Maybe even in Seattle’s front office.