He caught a league-leading 15 touchdown passes in 2010, when he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and a career-high 81 passes the following year. He was banged up most of last season and struggled in part because of a shaky quarterback situation, but still did enough to warrant a five-year, $56 million deal from the Chiefs’ new regime this past offseason.
So far, he’s struggled to live up to the new contract.
Bowe has had trouble getting open in Reid’s offense, and has been subjected to constant double-teams. He has 33 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns through the first nine games.
The Chiefs returned to practice from their bye on Monday, and while there was no access to players, coach Andy Reid said on a conference call with reporters that everyone participated.
“Everybody was back,” Reid said, “which is a good thing.”
That presumably included Bowe, whom the Chiefs may have to find a way to replace when the team resumes practice on Wednesday. They’re already thin at wide receiver, and Bowe’s absence would put more pressure on Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster in the passing game. Avery, signed by the Chiefs this past offseason, has 27 catches for 396 yards and a touchdown. McCluster has 25 catches for 262 yards and a score.
It would also put more pressure on running back Jamaal Charles, who has a team-leading 47 receptions while also leading the AFC with 725 yards rushing. The Chiefs already had been wary of using Charles too much during the first half of the season.
“Well, knowing he’s one of your more explosive players. You’re going to try and get him the ball as much as you can,” offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “That’s just the nature of it.”