Last week, Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff helped Pro Football Talk create a little news by telling the NBCSN show that he believes there’s a 50-50 chance tight end Tony Gonzalez will return.
That’s a major drop in Gonzalez’s assessment that his retirement is 95-percent certain.
And the number could be going even lower. Ed Werder of ESPN quotes an unnamed player close to Gonzalez as saying, “I think if the circumstances are right, Tony will come back.”
It’s hard to know what it will take for the “circumstances” to be right, unless that’s code for the contract the Falcons will offer.
Gonzalez is still playing at an elite level, but his base salary for 2012 was only $3.9 million. It may be that his ultimate decision will be driven by how much the Falcons will pay him to play one more year.
And if money really is an issue, things could get very interesting if Gonzalez doesn’t re-sign by March 9, at which time other teams could start making him offers.
He’s never been a free agent in 17 NFL seasons. This could be the future Hall of Famer’s opportunity to walk off into the sunset not necessarily with a silver trophy, but definitely with a giant pot of gold.