The NFL watched Tony Gonzalez played in 2012 under the impression that the future Hall of Famer was set to retire upon the season's completion. While he still hasn't decided what to do regarding his future, the 37-year-old appears to be leaning towards adding one final chapter to his illustrious career.
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports reported the Falcons tight end would likely return for another season if Atlanta gives him enough money and allows him to miss training camp for the upcoming year.
"He will come back if they pay him $7 million and he doesn't have to do training camp," said one Falcons player familiar with Gonzalez's thinking.
As Silver notes, one team official said both stipulations shouldn't be an issue. Gonzalez was paid a base salary of $3.9 million last year, along with a $1 million roster bonus. Owen Daniels will receive a base of $4 million for 2013, just as a comparison.
Money won't prevent the Falcons from re-signing Gonzalez. Surely the coaching staff can't be thrilled about a player missing training camp, but let's face it, it's Tony Gonzalez. The guy is in better shape than most of the league after recently turning 37. His work ethic is unparalleled, and Atlanta knows how vital he could be to another playoff run. It's understandable, though, for the franchise to want a key weapon present, regardless of his knowledge of the offense.
Earlier reports indicated Gonzalez was wavering on retirement. Coming up just a few yards short of a Super Bowl appearance must constantly resonate in his mind. Plenty of people, myself included, believed Gonzalez would return ever since the Jan. 20 loss to the 49ers. I'll remain firm in my stance until he says otherwise.
The Falcons are also reportedly interested in signing Osi Umenyiora or Dwight Freeney. With William Moore recently re-signing, Sam Baker and Brent Grimes needing new contracts, and a continued pursuit for pass rushing help, the Falcons have to be careful how they allocate the remaining cap space.
Thoughts on his price, missing training camp, etc.?