On the Christmas morning of the football world, the NFL Draft, Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post reported that the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Matt Cassel had an agreement in place on a six year contract with $36 million guaranteed. The report shocked many across the football world. Soon, however, strong denials poured in from Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, team reporter Bob Gretz and GM Scott Pioli among others.
I talked to Mr. Lombardi back on May 4th and asked him about when we might suspect the contract to be "officially" announced.
My source told me that they had agreed and had to work out some details. In the spirit of their denial it might take a few more weeks to announce the deal. But unless my very good source is wrong then I suspect it gets announced in June.
Unless you've been hidden away on the computer shopping for MJ collectibles, you know we're now six days into July. It's been 129 days since Scott Pioli made the trade that shook the Kansas City football scene.
So what's the hold up? Are the negotiations becoming contentious? Are they waiting to announce a deal they've already agreed to in principle? Are we going to dangle him in front of the Broncos and say "Ha! This is what you want but can't have it!"?
We do know that the two sides have been talking but that's as far as the "insider" information goes. I obsessively check NFLPA records for any evidence of a new deal. While you haven't been hearing any information on an extension in this space, it doesn't mean we're not still curious or trying to scrounge up any information we can. It's just...hard. Impossible might be the word.
This contract negotiation is another reminder that this is a long, long offseason. Soon Chiefs officials, including head coach Todd Haley, will return from vacation and get back to work. I would guess that signing the team's 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th round draft picks are a higher priority at this point.
I do not believe the perceived lag in these negotiations as a sign that they're getting contentious. Cassel's agent, David Dunn, has been in the business a long time, as has GM Scott Pioli. They're both well aware of what he's worth. $14.651 million guaranteed this season, plus about another $17+ million if franchised again in 2010 means the starting point for guaranteed money will be around $32 million.
That's a lot of money and, frankly, probably makes Pioli uncomfortable. In an interview with Soren Petro on the Red Zone Podcast, Pioli said with big contracts come unrealistic expectations. And, "this is real money, this isn't Monopoly money."
Obviously the man only makes calculated moves. Much to the chagrin of fans eager for some news in July.