ATLANTA, GA- As the trade deadline looms over the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons (2-5) dropping another loss onto the city a burning question has been uncovered; do the Falcons trade Tony Gonzalez?
With the season practically, and almost mathematically, out of reach from a playoff run; Atlanta has been a hotbed of rumors and debate for at least two weeks regarding the future Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez.
Some NFL experts and pundits are stating that Atlanta needs to make a business decision. When Julio Jones was drafted in 2011 the Falcons gave up a total of five draft picks to move up to the sixth spot to obtain the Alabama receiver. Two years later the Falcons are hurting in a spot where everyone can see; the offensive and defensive fronts.
Now that the deadline is approaching a decision has to be made once again. Do the Falcons give up Gonzalez for a fourth to sixth round pick? Or do they stick it out and try to make this season memorable for him? For most fans and myself alike, there is a sense of rationalization behind even considering shopping Gonzalez around.
That’s something I’d like to call Gonzo guilt. Atlanta couldn’t make his dreams of retiring with a Super Bowl ring, or even an appearance in the game. So the only rational thing to do is to send him to a team that can actually make that goal a reality. There are only a few teams that would even meet the proper salary cap room and playoff hope conditions.
There is one team which obviously stands out the most. Gonzalez’s previous team, the Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) are now taking the league by storm with their dominant defense as they now tout an unblemished record with Alex Smith at the helm.
According to ESPN, even Tony himself acknowledges this fact by saying, “When Jimmy Johnson says that it would be respectful of [the Falcons], I see that. And like I said, if that’s something they wanted to do and they asked me, then, yeah, I would listen to them, of course. Yes, I would sit down with them.”
The trade back might be a bit awkward for the big man himself since he was the one who repeatedly asked to be traded to a Super Bowl contending team. However the man who negotiated his trade, former GM Scott Pioli, was formally fired January 4, 2013 after Kansas City’s horrible 2-14 record in the 2012-2013 season.
According to my newly developed theory, Atlanta fans would feel less hurt if the tight end was traded back to the city that developed him into the player that he is today and gave him his chance. In a way it might actually feel good to Gonzo fans to see him succeed before he retires. Besides, he was there for twelve years and the fans back at Arrowhead Stadium would surely give him a warm welcome back for the final eight games.
The other possible team that could take a stab at grabbing Gonzalez would be the New England Patriots. With the loss of Aaron Hernandez to alleged criminal activities and Rob Gronkowski still not 100 percent, it would not surprise me if Bill Belichick to make an aggressive move here.
In order to make this move they may have to restructure the tight end’s deal. With the new cap limit at $123 million, the Patriots have an expenditure of $121,201,528 dollars. This leaves them barely enough room to fit Gonzalez’s $5.2 million dollar contract into budget, which the Patriots would only pay around $1.7 million to cover the bonus because either way, the Falcons have essentially already promised him $3.5 million to rejoin the team this year.
“I love my guys on this team too much to go ask for a trade,” Gonzalez told ESPN.com late Monday night. “It would be something that would come from them where they said, ‘Hey, it makes sense because we could get something good for you and send you to a team that’s a contender.’So I understand the thought process behind that.”
Amidst the clouds of hope and speculation, the Falcons have held firm they are not going to trade away Gonzalez as of this writing.
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