Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez could return for raise, cutback offseason work
At the end of last season, Tony Gonzalez said he was 95 percent sure of retiring from a fruitful16-year NFL career. But the Atlanta Falcons are "cautiously optimistic" that Tony Gonzalez is now thinking of the other 5 percent on way to return for his 17th NFL season.
"He will come back if they pay him $7 million and he doesn't have to do training camp," Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver cited an Atlanta Falcons player familiar with Tony Gonzalez’s thinking.
“If we offer him the money, he’ll most likely be back for one more,” another team source added. “He’ll most likely be looking to miss training camp, though.”
Although Tony Gonzalez is arguably among the top free agent tight ends, who could get a offered a significant amount on the open market from other teams, the indications are he if he returns, Gonzalez would like to stay with the Atlanta Falcons. Moreover, a high-ranking Atlanta Falcons official indicated to Michael Silverman that team won’t let Tony Gonzalez’s request for more money and time off from training camp become an obstacle in potentially hammering out a deal.
"The money is there," a source close to Tony Gonzalez said. "Working out the days he can miss is the biggest holdup."
Tony Gonzalez takes remarkable care of his physical conditioning year-round and he is well acquainted with the offensive scheme, so the Atlanta Falcons may not have an issue with him getting back in shape or in rhythm when the season starts. The 37-year old Tony Gonzalez is still productive catching 93 percent of his passes lasts season while winning his first postseason game en route to the Super Bowl.
However, a $7 million salary is a significant raise from the $3.9 million in base salary and a $1 million roster bonus Tony Gonzalez earned on a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons last season. Moreover, the Atlanta Falcons have other free-agent priorities besides retaining their own; while they could also use the draft to replace Tony Gonzalez. But Tony Gonzalez’s return is all speculation until something more concrete comes up.