Tony Gonzalez's impact is just so lasting that we can't stop talking about him. Rats! But heading into free agency next week, the topic du jour isn't good news.
For whatever reason, Gonzo still hasn't filed his retirement paperwork with the player's association. As a result, the Falcons will shortly be on the hook for a $3 million roster bonus he's due this month. Mind you, Gonzo's total cap hit in 2014 would be $7 million. The Falcons would like to have that cap space. If he gets the roster bonus and then doesn't report, the Falcons would eventually get an additional $4 million in cap space.
It begs the question: Why hasn't he filed his paperwork? There's several possibilities, some less innocuous than others. It could be that he simply hasn't gotten around to it. Maybe his agent has it in hand, planning to file it tomorrow. A less likely possibility is that he has some desire to return in 2014. Given his comments after the season and apparent dissatisfaction during it, I'd say this is highly unlikely. And by highly unlikely, I mean damn near impossible. Certainly the most troubling possibility would be Gonzo wanting the roster bonus, because he somehow feels like he's entitled to it.
Look, I can't articulate how much I appreciate Gonzo's contributions. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer with class written all over him. But if he's honestly doing this to get his hands on an extra $3 million, the outcome is all but guaranteed. The Falcons will cut him. Cap space is valuable, and this is a business where money isn't guaranteed. If you play, then you get the pay. Not a complicated concept.
Again, this could be nothing. Gonzo could be holding off until the last minute, in case he has a change of heart. He could be sitting on the paperwork, ready to file it any day now. If he isn't though, we could have a situation where Gonzo's departure from the Falcons gets a little more bitter. That'd be an unfortunate turn events, to say the least.