KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With all the talk this week about the Chiefs’ desperate need to shore up their quarterback position, a process they presumably started with the pending Alex Smith trade, coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey have another pressing issue:
A desperate need to improve their weak wide-receiver corps.
To start, the Chiefs almost surely will have to reel in free agent Dwayne Bowe, by far the best of a less-than-stellar group.
And the clock is ticking.
Monday is the deadline for the Chiefs to issue a franchise tag on Bowe, a decision which would cost the team $11.4 million — a slightly steep price for a receiver who has shown the ability to make big plays, just not consistently.
But it is a price the Chiefs most likely will have to pay. Bowe, who had the franchise tag last season for $9.6 million, simply is the best that Reid and Dorsey have at the position right now.
And while there have been reports that Dorsey and Bowe’s agent have been in discussions regarding a long-term deal, nothing has developed from those talks as of yet. The franchise tag seems a logical option.
Even former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli believes that likely will happen.
“I would, personally, had I been there, my plan would have been to tag Dwayne again,” Pioli said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And Dwayne is a good, productive player at a position of need. He’s the best receiver on the Chiefs. He’s one of the better receivers in the NFL.”
Pioli, though, acknowledges that coming to an agreement on a long-term deal with Bowe may be difficult for Dorsey.
“I don’t believe (Bowe’s) as good as maybe his agent thinks – and when I say that I don’t say that disrespectfully,” Pioli said. “I just mean there was a difference in opinion (when I was there). I think he’s a top receiver that would deserve to be compensated in the top 10 range, not the top five.
“And with Dwayne and some of his background, the other thing is, if you’re going to commit to a player for a long-term deal on a lot of money, you’re going to want the deal to be right. And if you can’t get the money right you want to go on a year-to-year basis and you just hope that you can find a way to do that. But he’s a player that I would want back and then take my chances with some of the other players, whether it is Branden Albert or Glenn Dorsey or Dustin Colquitt, who are also going to be free-agents.”
Bowe, 28, was the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 draft and has at times been a dynamic receiver for the Chiefs. His 15 touchdown receptions in 2010 got him to the Pro Bowl.
In 2012, as the Chiefs’ quarterback situation deteriorated, Bowe’s numbers fell dramatically. He caught only 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns.
But Bowe has 5,728 receiving yards in Kansas City with 39 touchdowns over his career.
And right now, Reid and Dorsey have few other options for Smith to throw to in 2013.
Jon Baldwin, a first-round pick in 2011, has been a bust. And the rest of the receiving group — Terrance Copper, Josh Bellamy, Junior Hemingway, Jamar Newsome, Dexter McCluster and Devon Wylie — will hardly put a scare into any NFL secondary.