Conditions Set for Gonzalez’s Return
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports cites multiple team sources with the Atlanta Falcons that believe that tight end Tony Gonzalez will likely return for another year with the team. Throughout last year, Gonzalez indicated that he was very likely to retire after the 2012 season. Gonzalez had gone his entire career without garnering a single postseason win, which was earned when the Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional playoff round. Many believed that the Falcons close finish in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers could lure the sixteen-year veteran back for a seventeenth season with the goal of reaching the Super Bowl. Gonzalez is currently an unrestricted free agent, but is expected to return only to the Falcons if he opts not to call it a career.
Per Silver, sources indicate that Gonzalez would likely come back on the conditions that he could see a pay increase as well as be allowed to skip training camp. Gonzalez counted roughly $6 million against the Falcons salary cap in 2012 with a $3.9 million base salary and bonuses amounting to $2 million.
Gonzalez is also noted for his incredible conditioning, having only missed two games in his entire career. He is coming off a 2012 where he caught a team-leading 93 passes for 930 yards and 8 touchdowns, all of which representing his best production since joining the Falcons via trade in 2009.
Silver’s report indicates that team officials would likely accept Gonzalez’s conditions in order to return to the team.