Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe still hasn't signed his one-year, $9.5 million franchise tender. A trade remains a viable option for the Chiefs. Bowe's presence could be exchanged for bowed presents.
There are two things to consider—the Chiefs' current needs and the value of Dwayne Bowe.
Kansas City's needs are sparsely scattered throughout the depth chart. Two positions stand out—quarterback and inside linebacker. With a trade, the former can be addressed next offseason, and the latter void can be filled immediately.
It's no revelation: Matt Cassel isn't earning a Super Bowl ring as a starting quarterback. A healthy Jamaal Charles portrays Cassel as a better quarterback than he is, and a decimated, injury-riddled roster paints him as a second-string-caliber quarterback.
Ron Jaworski's quarterback rankings accurately reflect Cassel's standing (No. 22). Without the support of a league-leading rushing attack, the Chiefs quarterback is an average-at-best starter.
On July 27, the first whistle heard on Missouri Western State's campus will predicate a tightly contested battle between Jovan Belcher and Brandon Siler. Regardless of the outcome, inside linebacker is the team's most glaring weakness.
On paper, the Kansas City Chiefs shine at the wide receiver position. Trading Dwayne Bowe would dim the light, but it would also give a ray of hope to the roster's abyss.
There are three feasible trades that make sense for Kansas City.
Karlos Dansby (ILB, Miami)
Vontae Davis and—to a lesser extent—Chad Ochocinco created an ongoing buzz around Miami by halfheartedly enticing Dwayne Bowe via Twitter.
The duo's teammate, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, is a repeatedly snubbed standout at his position.
When comparing Dansby to the Chiefs' Jovan Belcher, a (Michael) Strahan-sized gap of talent divides the two.
Throughout 16 regular season games in 2011, Belcher recorded 61 solo tackles (two for losses).
In the same number of games, Dansby accounted for 27 more solo tackles (88, eight for losses), two sacks, one forced fumble and one interception.
Dansby's game is well-rounded. The only well-rounded aspects of Belcher's are the zeros attached to sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions.
Jerod Mayo (ILB, New England)
In recent years, Kansas City has recruited a collection of former New England Patriots: Ty Law, Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel, Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, etc.
One more wouldn't hurt.
In 2010, a healthy Jerod Mayo was a disruptive titan in an otherwise pedestrian New England Patriots defense. He racked up a league-leading 175 overall tackles and pounced on three fumbles.
Throughout 14 contests last season, Mayo provided 58 solo tackles (four for losses), one sack, one forced fumble and two interceptions.
He's also only entering his fifth season.
The Patriots dubiously approached contract negotiations for Wes Welker.
While Bowe and Welker are receivers cut from two vastly different cloths, New England's quick-striking offense shifted to overdrive with Randy Moss. No. 82 isn't going to stretch defenses to the degree that Moss did—Bowe is a route-runner, Moss is a roadrunner—but he's a Pro Bowl-caliber playmaker that's dangerous in all areas of the field.
The Chad Ochocinco experiment backfired in the chemistry lab. Could Ochocinco not digest the playbook in time? Did he lose a spring in his step? Perhaps.
But the franchise knows one thing for sure: Dwayne Bowe is in his prime.
First-Round Draft Pick
"The team will go as far as player X can carry them." It's a monotonous phrase in sports that's normally echoed to highlight the bountiful strengths of a given athlete.
While the Kansas City Chiefs are dependent upon Matt Cassel, it's for all of the wrong reasons.
With Jamaal Charles in his rearview, Cassel flooded the stat sheet with 27 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. His QBR (quarterback rating) ballooned to 93, and he booked a visit to Hawaii as a Pro Bowler.
The next season, Charles' year concluded on a cart in Week 2. In nine games, Cassel only completed one more touchdown than interception (10 TDs, 9 INTs), and his QBR plummeted to 76.6.
The Chiefs captured the AFC West throne in 2010 and made a playoff appearance. However, they were ousted by the Baltimore Ravens in a 30-7 blowout. Cassel completed half of his attempts (9-of-18) for 70 yards and zero touchdowns, and he was picked off three times.
Excluding No. 7, Kansas City's team is talented enough to be considered title contenders. Quarterback is the missing piece to a Super Bowl puzzle.
Despite any injury-induced odds, Kansas City isn't going to find itself in position to draft a top-five quarterback by default—2011 serves as proof.
But if the team acquires a mid-to-late first-round draft pick, the wheels on a hype train will start turning in the City of Fountains. By pairing their own first-rounder with the acquired pick, the Chiefs' dangling trade bait will begin to lure intrigued eyes. Scott Pioli would still have to add to the recipe, but the main ingredients are there.
But would teams trade a first-round pick for Dwayne Bowe? Maybe.
Even if Kansas City's highest bidder only offered second-round rights, it could be glued to another concocted proposal—that wouldn't involve the Chiefs' first-round pick—for the extra first-round choice. One thing is certain: Two first-rounders would be required before any eyebrows rise.
Scott Pioli will have to showcase his expertise in the negotiating field before the Kansas City Chiefs reach the "promised land."