The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday. We don't usually see a lot of blockbuster deals (although the Raiders did land quarterback Carson Palmer at the deadline a year ago), but Bowe is one of the more intriguing players to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches.
There has been speculation he could be the biggest name sent packing this year, and there was a recent report that Bowe desperately wants out of Kansas City. He is a free agent after the season, so, at the very least, Bowe might be preparing to play his final 10 games with the Chiefs.
Let's look at some reasons swapping Bowe before Tuesday’s deadline could behoove the Chiefs:
Contract: We’ve already broached the main reason trading Bowe might make a lot of sense. He probably won’t be a Chief next season. Bowe is 28 and in his prime. He is a legitimate No.1 receiver who has made plays on an offense known for running the ball and for poor quarterback play. He will be popular on the open market. The Chiefs might as well get something for Bowe when they can.
Unless both the Chiefs and Bowe have a major change of heart, there isn’t much of a chance Bowe will be back in Kansas City in 2013. He held out until after training camp this year after he was franchised at more than $9 million this season. There is little chance the Chiefs (who might need to franchise left tackle Branden Albert) will put the franchise tag on Bowe again at increased rate. The Chiefs have yet to show a strong interest in finalizing a long-term deal for Bowe, so what's to say they’d do it now? And if you believe the noise, Bowe probably is not jumping to sign with the Chiefs again.
Better compensation: If Bowe leaves as a free agent, the best the Chiefs will do is a compensatory draft pick in 2014. The highest it would be is No. 97, at the end of the third round. By trading Bowe, the Chiefs could get two picks. At least one would be higher than at the end of the third round, and the picks probably would be in next year’s draft. I think the Chiefs could get a second-round pick with perhaps a condition for another pick by trading Bowe now. Miami, St. Louis and the Jets, among other teams, could be interested in Bowe. Perhaps the Chiefs can drum up a bidding war to increase compensation.
Added ammunition: There is no doubt the Chiefs will be looking for a quarterback in the first round of the draft. We know how the quarterback market works in the draft. It is reasonable to think USC’s Matt Barkley and West Virginia’s Geno Smith could be the first two picks of the draft in April. If the Chiefs fall in love with one of these players -- and don’t already have one of the first two picks -- they would have to trade up. Getting picks for Bowe would add to the Chiefs’ trade arsenal in April. Remember, it took a slew of picks for the Redskins to move from No. 6 to No. 2 in a trade with the Rams this year to take Robert Griffin III. Stockpiling picks might be beneficial to Kansas City.
Bowe is not helping Chiefs now: Many people think the Chiefs would be conceding the season by trading Bowe. Look, this season is already lost. There have been major injuries, failures on both sides of the ball and a quarterback change. The Chiefs are 1-5 and are probably not going anywhere in 2012. Trading Bowe wouldn’t be a sign of conceding but a sign of interest in long-term recovery.
Bowe has not made the Chiefs a better team this year even though he has played well. Now that Brady Quinn is taking over at quarterback, having Bowe around would make life easier for the Chiefs on offense. But it isn’t as if Bowe is a magical savior for this disastrous season.
He’s replaceable: One of the reasons the Chiefs drafted Jon Baldwin in the first round in 2011 was insurance in case Bowe, who has 34 catches for 427 yards and three touchdowns this season, were to leave in free agency. Baldwin has potential, but he still needs to develop. By trading Bowe, the Chiefs could make a commitment to Baldwin to prepare him for the future. Also, the Chiefs are always good at managing the salary cap. They can always add a starting receiver in free agency. Bowe is not untouchable or impossible to replace.
Although trading Bowe might make sense, it might be an upset to see a deal actually happen. NFL trades aren’t that easy to make. But it might be worth the Chiefs’ time to consider one in the coming days.