Is Clark Hunt Willing To Tap His Checkbook?

All the talk surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs the last few days has been about the fears many employees had — including former head coach Todd Haley — that the franchise was going above and beyond to keep tabs on their actions.

It’s not that this isn’t a huge story. It deserves the attention it’s received at this point and if there is any truth whatsoever to Haley’s fears that the Arrowhead offices were bugged, it’s hard to even imagine the sort of repercussions that would follow. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there won’t ever be hard evidence to prove this happened and Haley will sidestep making any sort of of accusations whenever he speaks publicly again.

The more important question to me isn’t if the Chiefs have been tapping phones, but if Clark Hunt is ready to tap his checkbook. Once again, Kansas City was among the league’s thriftiest teams and will need to spend some big time cash if they are going to avoid taking a step back in 2012.

Despite being invisible in the free agent market, Hunt and GM Scott Pioli have done a good job at locking up their own players (Jamaal Charles, Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali have all been extended). However, they were unable to do the same with WR Dwayne Bowe and CB Brandon Carr, both set to be unrestricted free agents.

The Chiefs guaranteed Flowers $22 million and will likely need to start in that neighborhood if they have any thought of keeping Carr. If you are scoffing at that amount, just look at the Detroit Lions secondary (his hometown team, by the way) and it will become clear that Carr is getting a big time deal this offseason. At the very least he should attract something equal to the four-year $32 million deal the New York Jets handed out to Antonio Cromartie last offseason.

Then there is the curious case of Bowe. His issues with Haley were said to be the final straw with management letting the head coach go, so despite grumblings that Pioli was looking for reasons to make the move, it would make sense they want the receiver back. A good starting point for Bowe and the Chiefs is the five-year $50 million ($24 million guaranteed) deal the Miami Dolphins gave to Brandon Marshall.

Obviously the Chiefs can slap the franchise tag on whichever they prefer and work out a long-term deal with the other. Going that route would cost roughly $9.5 million for Bowe or $10.5 million for Carr.

Considering how cheap the team has been in the past it’s not totally out of the question they let both walk, but my best guess is they franchise or lock up Carr and let Bowe walk. Cornerbacks are too hot of a commodity to lose and with Steve Breaston along with a full season of first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin, Bowe’s loss wouldn’t be felt nearly as badly.

Pioli and Hunt have talked a lot about a “process” the last few years, well how they handle these two players will tell us a lot about just how much that “process” has to do with winning.

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