Who is Tony Gonzalez?
Kansas City Chiefs fans will tell you he's a franchise icon. Members of the mainstream media will tell you he's a 10-time Pro Bowler and a future Hall of Famer. Thomas Dimitroff will tell you he's a dream come true for the Falcons:
"Every team in this league dreams of having Tony Gonzalez run out of the tunnel for them."
Gonzalez is all those things, but most importantly for our purposes, he's the missing piece of the offensive puzzle for our beloved team. With Matt Ryan throwing to him, a potent rushing attack led by Michael Turner to complement him and the incredible Roddy White drawing targets, Tony Gonzalez is free to wreak havoc. He blocks well and catches well, and we still have Ben Hartsock and Justin Peelle for when those two tight end sets to help him out. All last season we complained about being a tight end away from a juggernaut, and we've gotten our wish. Rejoice!
Of course, it's not that simple. Despite his early insistence that he'd like to play three or four more years in Atlanta, I think two is a reasonable goal. We also had to give up a second round pick next year, which could net a quality player. There's also the small matter of Gonzalez's almost obsessive drive to get himself out of Kansas City into a new uniform, and I think we've learned over our time as Falcons fans that a lack of loyalty can sting.
Really, though, those aren't going to break the deal. Gonzalez joins the pantheon of monsters in Atlanta alongside Honest Abe, Turner the Burner and Matty Snowballs. It takes a team to win in the NFL, but our gate attractions are pretty impressive for a team that was 4-12 just two years ago. If you can't get excited for Ryan throwing to Gonzalez, you're either a robot or clinically dead. Or you're a zombie robot, which is just plain awesome.
It's unreasonable to expect Gonzo's numbers to hit the 100 catches and 10 TDs he racked up last year, but something like 70 catches and 7 TDs is far from out of the question. I'm also quite fond of the idea of Gonzalez blocking in a two TE set, which could turn our line into an indestructible wall of rush allowing. Our defense could squat in a laundry hamper and drop a Najeh Davenport, but our offense is going to be legendary.
It wasn't that long ago that I was talking myself out of this trade, but deferring the payment a year makes a surprisingly big difference. With the opportunity to aggressively attack our defensive needs on Saturday, there's a good chance that the Falcons will be one of the most dynamic teams in the league next year. Maybe we won't hit 11 or 12 wins, but the promised land--those elusive back-to-back winning seasons--suddenly seem tantalizingly close. All this because we pulled the trigger on an over-30 tight end, too. What an odd world.
Weigh in like sumo wrestlers, folks.