Five Things: What's Left to Ponder?

Five Things: What's Left to Ponder?

With training camp just six weeks away, the players are scattered and the coaches are taking a short break, but there is still some work that has to get done and some observations until the Kansas City Chiefs re-convene in St. Joseph, Missouri.

1. Sign Him or Trade Him – Let's put the stalemate between Dwayne Bowe and the Kansas City Chiefs as the organizations top priority before the team departs for St. Joe. Right now the two sides are some $6-8 million apart on guaranteed dollars.

On one side the Chiefs, led by General Manager Scott Pioli, aren't convinced that Bowe is worth signing a long-term contract. In the last three years, Pioli has done a terrific job locking up many of his young core players to new deals. But Bowe is different.

The Chiefs aren't sure what they have in Bowe. Pioli would like his - sometimes elite receiver - to sign his tender perform well the first month of the regular season and see how he responds to playing under his franchise tag. If he shines, then the leverage falls on Bowe and maybe he gets the $30 million in guarantees he believes he's worth.

Bowe, who will likely sign his tender prior to the mid July deadline, has to come to grips with the fact there aren't many teams interested in acquiring his services. With the market dried up, the Chiefs remain his only viable option for 2012 and 2013.

2. Get #1 Done – I can't for my life understand why the Chiefs and their first round draft pick Dontari Poe, still haven't signed on the dotted line. To the kids' credit, he showed up for every OTA session, attended the Mini-Camp and from all accounts was a far better player at the end of his workouts – then when he started.

Poe is probably the most important player on this defense in 2012. Sure he's a rookie but this defense can't turn the rest of the corner without a space-eating defensive tackle creating modest havoc on every snap.

I'm of the belief that Poe is an every down defensive player. And I think once he gets his NFL sea legs planted firmly in the turf, he's going to be a force the second half of the season for KC's defense.

So guys get this deal done!

3. QBOTF? – After the recent workouts, there is little doubt that second year man Ricky Stanzi is a far better quarterback than he was as a wide-eyed rookie. I said last year in camp, he was the best quarterback of the three, Matt Cassel and Tyler Palko, but he has zero NFL experience.

Under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator, Brian Dabol, the former Hawkeye has that look and feel of a player who could eventually grow into a starters role for Kansas City.

Let's be honest, fair or not, Chiefs fans aren't going to give Cassel any slack. The first interception he throws in a preseason game and the boo birds will come out. It's totally unfair and unjust. But it is what it is! And there is little Cassel can do other than guide the Chiefs to a deep playoff run to regain positive public opinion. But right now Stanzi is firmly ahead of veteran Brady Quinn.

4. Add a Linebacker – If the Chiefs had one short-sided stroke in the offseason it was not to bring in a veteran inside linebacker. Though I love Dexter Heyman, the undrafted rookie from Louisville and Brandon Siler should be ready to go by training camp, this team needs some insurance if Jovan Belcher is going to remain a starter in 2012.

The Maine standout is a solid player but he's a gang tackler and not a playmaker. With Derrick Johnson playing his best football of his career, he needs a better line mate. I'm not sure what's left on the market but hopefully the Chiefs can find a gem from the waiver wire before the start of training camp.

B>5. Future or Present #1? – With the Bowe saga still ongoing, one player has taken full advantage of the contract stalemate. Last year Jon Baldwin was the Chiefs top draft pick. But for the most part, his 2011 season was mostly a failure.

After flunking out of the Todd Haley doghouse and his locker room encounter with former running back, Thomas Jones, last season, Baldwin came into these workouts a different man. And outside of a minor setback with Migraine headaches, he looks like a top-flight receiver.

Baldwin might be the most chiseled receiver I've ever seen. He has all the tools to be a special player in the next year or two. His physical gifts are beyond impressive. But it's his mental makeup today that has me excited Baldwin has already turned the corner.

If Bowe and the Chiefs do get a deal done; this duo could be dynamite for the conceivable future.

Do you think veteran Safety Abram Elam can compete for a starting job in KC?

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