The Chiefs believe they have a two-year window to get to the Super Bowl. Talk at One Arrowhead Drive is they will be looking for a big play wide receiver to take some heat off Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes.
The biggest name wide receiver on the free agent market will be San Francisco WR Terrell Owens. The 30 year old Owens was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the ‘96 NFL Draft. Owens will be entering his 9th season in the NFL in 2004. And all indications are that the four-time Pro Bowler won't be back with the 49ers in 2004.
The talk about adding Owens or another big play wide receiver could signal that Johnnie Morton's days as a Chief are numbered. Morton could be released June 1st when the Chiefs can absorb the $3.5 million signing bonus over two years instead of one.
That leaves the Chiefs seriously looking into signing Terrell Owens. Owens would be exactly the big play receiver the Chiefs are looking for and need to give them the best triple threat in the NFL. With his ability to make big plays, he'd be the perfect compliment to Holmes and Gonzalez. It would also make the Chiefs the premier offensive team in the NFL.
In his first eight years in the league, Owens has posted five seasons with over 1,000 yards. Owens has averaged 74 catches and ten touchdowns a season his entire career. In addition, Owens averages at least one catch over 20 yards per game, and has averaged 51 catches a year that results in a first down. That's right, 51 catches per season for first downs. He can also stretch a defense and the Chiefs don't have a wide receiver on the roster that is capable of that.
Owens has been so productive with the ball in his hands, his 2003 stats of 80 catches, 1102 yards and 9 touchdowns were his lowest output since 1999. So there are no questions about Owens' ability. However, there are questions about his attitude and on-field antics. He hated playing for 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson and battled with him constantly.
Two years ago, after scoring a touchdown against Dallas, Owens promptly ran 50 yards to the center of field, and spiked the ball on the ‘Star' at Texas Stadium.
This past season, after scoring a touchdown during a Monday Night home game, Owens reached into his sock and pulled out a Sharpie. Owens autographed the football and handed it to his financial planner.
These actions clearly do not meet the "Vermeil profile." But the Chiefs will look to add a big play wide receiver - whether through free agency or the NFL draft. They might be able to corral his attitude and talent.
Owens is currently drawing the most interest from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions. The Eagles are desperate for receiver help and the Lions, who are coached by Owens old head coach Steve Mariucci, might be willing to bring him to in as well.
The Chiefs have the 30th pick of the first round in this April's draft. The draft has proven that if you do your homework, you can find good players in every round, at every position; so selecting a wide receiver that late in the first round would be a much cheaper alternative than shelling out millions for Terrell Owens. But can they find a playmaker at that spot? That remains to be seen.
The Chiefs still have three free agents of their own they need to resign Jerome Woods, John Tait and Eric Hicks. If they can accomplish that, they'll have very little cap dollars left for free agents on offense or defense. But only Woods seems a lock to return to the Chiefs and that could free up enough cap room for the Chiefs to give Owens a long and deserving look.
Kansas City has not had a breakaway #1 receiver on the roster since Otis Taylor. If the Chiefs want to get to the Super Bowl in either of the next two seasons, they might need to make a serious attempt to sign Owens to shore up their only offensive weakness heading into the 2004 season.