Memo to Dwayne Bowe: If you really are a team guy, you’ll restructure your deal

For whatever reason, Dwayne Bowe has been giving the Chiefs No. 2 receiver numbers for No. 1 receiver money.

Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Dorsey says Dwayne Bowe is a really good teammate. Dwayne Bowe says Dwayne Bowe is a really good teammate.

You know what a really good teammate really needs to do, right about now?

Take a pay cut.

Take one for the team, Dwayne.

Restructure. Defer. Whatever.

The Kansas City Chiefs need you. They do. You’re a big body (6-foot-2, 221 pounds), a known quantity, a willing blocker and a veteran presence.

But what they don’t need is the $10.75 million base salary and $14 million cap hit for what you still bring to the table.

Whether because of age or the oft-discussed conservatism of quarterback Alex Smith, or both, big No. 82 is giving you No. 2 receiver numbers for No. 1 receiver money. Over the past two seasons, the 30-year-old wideout has averaged 58.5 receptions, 713.5 yards and two-and-a-half touchdowns. As returns go, it’s a Keyshawn Johnson contract and Wayne Chrebet production.

Take one for the team, Dwayne.

MORE ON THE CHIEFS

What do you do with the most scoring-impotent group of wideouts in modern NFL history?

Blow it up and start over.

Tuesday was nibbling, a little off the sides. Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins opened up roughly $4.73 million in cap space.

Pass-rushing ace Justin Houston is going to command $13.17 million, all by himself, if he gets slapped, as expected, with the franchise tag as a linebacker.

The long-expected whacking at wide receiver has officially started over at One Arrowhead Drive. Word of wideout Avery’s cut (cap savings: $3.4 million) got out just before noon, Central time; a press release announcing the waiving of Jenkins (cap savings: $1.33 million) followed roughly 90 minutes later.


As it said on his dossier, Avery (who caught just 55 balls for 772 yards over the past two falls) was lightning when healthy, but the healthy moments — and highlights — were rare. In two seasons with the Chiefs, Jenkins caught 17 passes — 14 more than Jon Baldwin, the alleged-next-franchise-type-wideout he was acquired from San Francisco for, snagged with the 49ers over that same stretch, but still. The prevailing, defining image of No. 15 was October in San Diego, taking a screen from Smith to the right-side boundary, a clear lane in front, and then … stepping out of bounds.

You all know the sad, comical rest of the story: The 2014 Chiefs wide receiver corps accounted for zero receiving scores — a first in the modern era of football, and certainly since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970. Something happens. Something lucky. A wacky bounce. A funky turn. A linebacker trips. A cornerback falls down. Over 17 weeks and 16 games, the odds of every one of your wide receivers failing to catch a touchdown pass are hit-by-lightning-while-being-eaten-by-a-shark rare. But they did it.

Take one for the team, Dwayne.

Bowe has the second-largest cap number on the Chiefs’ roster for 2015 (after quarterback Alex Smith), at $14 million. Outside linebacker Tamba Hali is next, at $11.964 million. It could be argued that Hali’s production, even at age 32, is worth more for the value, at least for a few more years, although there’s a ready-made replacement at the position on the roster already in Dee Ford. And lopping the veteran linebacker now immediately opens up $8.47 million in cap space.

Lookin’ good! Flip through our photo album of Chiefs cheerleaders.

Now if Bowe gets cut immediately, he shaves another $4.5 million off the cap. Should No. 82 be designated as a post-June 1 cut, the Chiefs would open up a reported $11 million of cap room, right there — although it also creates roughly $6 million in dead money against the ’16 cap.

It’s not that Bowe doesn’t have value on the field, even at age 30. It’s worth noting that, at the moment, there’s no clear safety net for Dorsey, the Chiefs’ general manager, as far as a No. 1 wideout goes, no Plan B.

Who’s the understudy for Bowe? Junior Hemingway? Frankie Hammond? Da’Rick Rogers?

Then again, the open market could be full of upgrades. Jeremy Maclin, the former Mizzou star, could become a free agent, and has a history with coach Andy Reid. The Packers’ Randall Cobb has a history with Dorsey; the Niners’ Michael Crabtree has a history with Smith.

"He cares about the game," Dorsey said of Bowe shortly after the season ended. "This offseason, he came back in the best shape I’ve seen him in. And he’s done a nice job."

Sure, but $10.75 million nice? If the wideouts could manage zero receiving touchdowns with you, it stands to reason that they could manage zero receiving touchdowns without you.

"Cutting Bowe saves around $5 million as well, but the Chiefs are so limited in receivers that it is probably best to renegotiate his salary down to an acceptable level," offered Jason Fitzgerald, a capologist with OverTheCap.com. "Bowe’s cash salary in 2015 is $11 million, and if he takes a $5 million pay cut it has the same impact from a cap perspective as releasing him.

"He’s been one of the worst value players at the position for the last three seasons, so at this point I don’t know if Bowe would earn $6 million as a free agent, so he should jump at that opportunity."

Take one for the team, Dwayne.

The ball’s in your court now. All you have to do is catch it.

You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @SeanKeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com.