KANSAS CITY, Mo. — And so the Dwayne Bowe saga continues.
Bowe, a talented but sometimes unusual sixth-year wide receiver, and the Kansas City Chiefs failed to agree to contract terms by 3 p.m. Monday, the NFLs deadline to reach a long-term deal with teams franchise players. The Chiefs have to wait until after the season to make a deal final, at which point Bowe might just figure hell take his chances on the open market if the Chiefs dont tag him again, that is.
At some point, Bowe will likely sign his franchise tender and put on a Chiefs uniform for the 2012 season. Its either that or sit out the season.
But as other NFL players were signing last-minute deals to stay with their teams, bluffs called or folded, Bowe and the Chiefs maintained their stalemate. And now that this chapter is finished, will a future one outline how this day led to Bowe eventually signing with another team?
Mondays absence of a new deal doesnt mean Bowe will soon be an ex-Chief. Plenty can happen in the next few months. But this doesnt help matters, and it sure decreases the odds that, when the Chiefs are ready to contend for a Super Bowl, Bowe, their 2007 first-round pick wont be around to help.
If that happens, fans will look at this past offseason, both sides failed negotiations, and point to a period in which stubbornness and self-unawareness fractured an otherwise promising relationship. In that case, there will be blame on both sides.
General manager Scott Piolis obsession with signing players to value deals could haunt him, if it hasnt begun doing so already. Its terrific that the franchise saves money on team-friendly deals like the one running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Derrick Johnson signed in 2010.
Pioli has mostly done a good job retaining homegrown talent, keeping cornerback Brandon Flowers and outside linebacker Tamba Hali in town with extensions last year. But hes also shown he likes to chase bargains.
When fullback LeRon McClain was a free agent last summer, the Chiefs didnt even express interest until McClains value plummeted. The Chiefs badly needed a fullback, but not unless he could be had for a song.
Then earlier this year, the Chiefs passed on extending cornerback Brandon Carr, a homegrown player who went from fifth-round draft pick to starting-lineup mainstay, and Carr later signed with Dallas. At the time, the story was that Carr was allowed to get away so the Chiefs would have more flexibility in negotiating with Bowe. The receiver was franchised early in the offseason, allowing time for a long-term deal. And now that time has expired.
The Chiefs stood their ground on Bowe, refusing to cater to his big-money demands with many thinking the reasoning behind not giving Bowe a Larry Fitzgerald- or Calvin Johnson-sized contract being that here are just too many unanswered questions about his behavior.
To that end, Bowes talent hasnt always overshadowed his off-the-field adventures, from quotes in an ESPN article several years ago about NFL players cheating on their wives on the road to an apology in which he referred to the Hunt family as the Clarks. .
Bowes report card contains as many question marks and sad faces as checks and smiles. Which is why it was hard to know how authentic his good-soldier performances were the last two years possibly just the act of a man who wanted a contract that pays him $40 million to $50 million guaranteed.
Bowe is good, but hes not elite, yet. Too many drops. Flawed route-running. Having no idea how his words sometimes make him sound.
The Chiefs also could franchise Bowe again next offseason, but with contracts expiring for left tackle Branden Albert and defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, theyll need that flexibility in keeping one or both with the organization.
The Chiefs now have to hope that Jon Baldwin or rookie Junior Hemingway emerges as a potential No. 1 receiver, or hope that Bowe realizes that he can be that superstar in time, but only in the right system.