KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Dwayne Bowe show has officially come to an end in Kansas City.
The Chiefs released the eight-year veteran Thursday, giving Bowe the opportunity for a fresh start with a new team and freeing the Chiefs of significant salary cap constraints.
“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, I’d like to thank Dwayne for his contributions over the last eight seasons,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt stated in a press release. “During his time with the Chiefs, Dwayne established himself as one of the best receivers in club history. We wish Dwayne nothing but the best as he moves forward.”
Bowe took to Twitter to express his gratitude.
“I want to thank the entire Chiefs organization from the bottom of my heart,” Bowe tweeted. “You believed in me and gave me my chance to play in the NFL. I will be forever grateful.”
Bowe was slated to make $10.75 million in base salary plus an additional workout bonus of $11 million. With his signing bonus, Bowe was set to count $14 million against the salary cap in 2015, nearly 10 percent of the team’s cap space.
By cutting Bowe, the Chiefs will save $5 million in cap space for 2015. The team has $9 million in signing bonus paid when he signed his five-year contract in 2013. That total will apply against the 2015 salary cap.
The move means the Chiefs will also save $13 million in cap space in the 2016 and 2017 seasons when Bowe was scheduled to make $10 million each season in base salary and workout bonuses.
“This was a tough decision to make,” general manager John Dorsey said in the press release. “Dwayne is a team-first guy and he holds a number of team receiving records. We felt this was in the best interest of the club at this time.”
Despite an up-and-down career since his selection with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft, Bowe has piled up one of the more distinguished resumes among receivers in Chiefs history.
He finishes his Chiefs career second all-time in receptions with 532, trailing Tony Gonzalez’s 916. His 7,155 receiving yards rank third behind Gonzalez (10.940) and Otis Taylor (7,306). He ranks fifth on the team’s receiving touchdown list with 55.
Highlights of Bowe’s career include his career-best 2010 season, when his 72 catches for 1,162 yards elevated the Chiefs to the AFC West crown. His 15 touchdowns catches that season still stands as the team’s all-time mark for a single season.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Dwayne the past two seasons,” coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “He showed up every day with a great attitude and did everything we asked of him. He was a productive player for a number of years here and I have a lot of respect for what he was able to accomplish.”
On the downside, Bowe has been suspended twice by the NFL, a four-game suspension in 2009 for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and a one-game suspension in 2014 following his arrest for possession of a controlled substance.
Cutting ties with Bowe makes the coronation complete for newly acquired free agent Jeremy Maclin to assume the role as the Chiefs primary receiver. Age is certainly a factor in the decision to move from Bowe to Maclin — Bowe will turn 31 in September while Maclin will be just 27 this season.
With a big frame (6 feet 2 inches tall and 221 pounds) and a tough attitude, Bowe made a mark in the Chiefs rushing game as a punishing blocker.
Bowe is likely to draw interest on the free agent market, especially considering that many of the top-rated wide receiver free agents have already found new homes. The current crop of free agents available at wide receiver include Steve Johnson, Robert Meachem, Kenny Britt, Brandon Tate, Miles Austin and Eddie Royal.
FULL MESSAGE FROM DWAYNE BOWE’S TWEET: