|Carl Lays Down The Law|
It's never too early in training camp for Chiefs President Carl Peterson to talk to the media. Today was only day one, but he let everyone know where he stands with three players: Larry Johnson, Dwayne Bowe and Jared Allen.
"I'm going to address this one time, and one time only," said Peterson, "because I think that's all it necessitates."
To summarize Carl's comments: The Chiefs want Johnson. They still view Allen as a risk player. Now that the slotting has begun with the bottom third of this year's first-round draft picks, it should be easier to get Bowe in camp.
You have to admire Peterson and his directness with the media. I know he has his detractors, but he never pulls any punches. He's as direct as he was the first day he landed this job back in 1989.
He has no plans to trade Johnson to the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons or anyone else who might be on the verge of dialing up his cell phone - unless they wow him with three first-day draft picks.
If you get that one by him, you still have to deal with Johnson's young, inexperienced and out-of-his-league agent, Alvin Keels. The team that pulls off the improbable and trades for Johnson is rewarded with two other things: a gutted future and an agent with three clients embroiled in contract disputes and another in jail.
Asante Samuel is sitting out in New England because he wants a long-term deal, and isn't happy about being the Patriots franchise player.
LaMont Jordan is refusing to take a pay cut to help the Oakland Raiders settle their woeful salary cap issues.
Then there is Koren Robinson, who has a ongoing reservation in the Nicollet County jail in southern Minnesota.
And of course, Johnson, who shows no signs of resolving his dispute with the organization.
The bottom line is that the two sides are miles apart in guaranteed dollars, and as Peterson explained on Friday, Johnson will be fined $14,000 for each day he fails to report to River Falls.
This matter is on hold until Keels makes a real counter offer. I hope Johnson forces Keels to deduct $14,000 from his agent commission for each day the holdout continues. There's no way he's going to see anything close to the guaranteed bucks that LaDanian Tomlinson received.
Next up, Priest Holmes. As Carl said, there's no conspiracy theory here. The wily veteran wanted to come back.
"Knowing Priest, I would expect he would come and help this football team win," said Peterson. "I'm high on Priest Holmes and always have been. Like I said, every time people start to count him out he comes back. I think that's part of his motivation."
I have to concur. Yeah, a part of me believes that Holmes' return has a little something to do with HBO's Hard Knocks cameras, but I think deep down inside he feels that he has some unfinished business in the NFL and with the Chiefs. Realistically, he also has to know that many will question what's left in his tank.
How about Jared Allen? The two sides are still ice cold with each other.
The Chiefs starting defensive end received a gift from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when he reduced his four-game suspensions to a pair of games to start the 2007 NFL season. Plus he gets to work with the team during his unpaid leave of absence.
"He is a player of risk," said Peterson. "I want to see how he performs on and off the field this year, and I think the NFL wants to see that also."
Peterson is correct, but Allen has already proved that he means business. He's traveled the straight and narrow since his last arrest and brief incarceration.
Allen has issues with the Chiefs and wants to be a free agent next year, but he could be KC's franchise player in 2008. That would put upwards of $10 million in his pocket. Of course, the Chiefs might use that chip for Johnson if his holdout lasts deep into the season.
In the interim, both sides need to work together. Though it's doubtful the two parties will hammer out a long-term contract, Peterson won't exactly rule it out.
"I would never exclude the possibility of him getting a multi-year contract and going on," said Peterson.
So there it goes, the official start of training camp is here and Peterson has laid it all out from management's point of view.
Now we in the media can just go about our business waiting for first-round pick Dwayne Bowe to get his deal done, watching two-a-days and analyzing all the players on the roster until camp breaks.