Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe gets franchise tag

The Chiefs designated Dwayne Bowe as their franchise player

Monday, keeping the impact wide receiver off the free-agent market

this offseason.

The move, which came less than an hour before the afternoon

deadline, guarantees Bowe a salary of about $9.5 million next

season. He could still field offers from other teams, but the

Chiefs would have the right to match them.

If they refused, they would receive two first-round draft picks

as compensation.

”Today was the league’s deadline to designate a franchise

player and we felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City

Chiefs to place the tag on Dwayne,” Chiefs general manager Scott

Pioli said in a three-paragraph statement released by the team.

Bowe had a breakout season two years ago, catching 72 passes for

1,162 yards and 15 scores en route to his first Pro Bowl. He

followed that with 81 catches for 1,159 yards and five TDs last

season, despite playing without injured quarterback Matt Cassel the

final seven games.

Pioli has indicated he would like to sign Bowe to a long-term

deal, and the Chiefs have often used the franchise tag as a bridge

toward making that happen.

Linebacker Tamba Hali was given the tag last season. Contract

negotiations were put on hold because of the lockout, but the two

sides eventually agreed to a $60 million, five-year deal early in

training camp. The deal made Hali one of the league’s highest-paid

pass rushers.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez was franchised by the Chiefs in 2002 and

signed a seven-year deal by September. Offensive lineman Will

Shields was tagged in 2000, played the entire season under the

franchise deal, and agreed to a lucrative six-year contract the

following March.

Bowe tweeted that he had ”good news comin very soon” about an

hour before the Chiefs used the franchise tag on him. He later

tweeted: ”Another year with the Chiefs.”

The decision to use the franchise tag on Bowe had been expected

ever since the Chiefs agreed to terms with cornerback Stanford

Routt on a $19.6 million, three-year deal last month.

That deal was tantamount to announcing cornerback Brandon Carr

would be allowed to reach free agency. The Chiefs already have

$52.5 million wrapped up in cornerback Brandon Flowers, so using

the franchise tag on a third cornerback would have been