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Tony Gonzalez likely to return for more money, less offseason work

Divisional Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons can probably get tight end Tony Gonzalez to return if they promise him two things: more money and less offseason work.

Teammates believe that Gonzalez, who said last year that he was 95 percent sure he’d retire, will agree to come back if the Falcons show him the money and tell him he can take time off during training camp, according to Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports.

He will come back if they pay him $7 million and he doesn’t have to do training camp,” one Falcons player told Silver.

A team source also told Silver, “If we offer him the money, he’ll most likely be back for one more. He’ll most likely be looking to miss training camp, though.”

A $7 million salary is completely reasonable for a player who is the top tight end on our list of this year’s best free agents. In fact, Gonzalez will probably have other teams offering him more money than that, although indications are that if Gonzalez is going to play at all in 2013, it’s going to be in Atlanta.

As for getting to miss training camp, the Falcons likely wouldn’t have a problem with that. Gonzalez always takes good care of himself and stays in great shape year-round, and he knows the Falcons’ offense and won’t need long to get back into rhythm when the season starts.

We won’t know until we hear it from Gonzalez himself whether he’s going to play in 2013. But the smart money is now on Gonzalez coming back for one more year.

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54 Responses to “Tony Gonzalez likely to return for more money, less offseason work”
  1. golforepar says: Mar 10, 2013 1:20 PM

    Meeting Tony’s demands can cause turmoil with the rest of the team.

  2. allday28mvp says: Mar 10, 2013 1:21 PM

    Who does this guy think he is ?? Brett Favre???

  3. ericn42000 says: Mar 10, 2013 1:21 PM

    1 more year Tony G big fan of what you have been doing in the NFL.

  4. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 10, 2013 1:21 PM

    AKA The Brett Farve.

  5. FinFan68 says: Mar 10, 2013 1:26 PM

    Money is one thing but different circumstances is another. People blasted Favre for a similar stance. The money is to do a job as part of the team. Showing favoritism and setting a precedent is not a good idea. He is a future HoF TE but he should go to camp or retire.

  6. jag8r904 says: Mar 10, 2013 1:28 PM

    I want more money and less work, too!

    If you don’t want to do training camp, then just retire. It’s part of your job.

  7. j0esixpack says: Mar 10, 2013 1:30 PM

    While its completely understandable Gonzales doesn’t want or need to go through training camp, it can be difficult as a coach and a team to be giving special exemptions to players.

    Not signing him until late in camp would make sense – though that requires that they keep $7 million in reserve and it’s taking the risk that he won’t change his mind, leaving them without a big piece of their offense.

  8. benroethlisberger7 says: Mar 10, 2013 1:33 PM

    What a drama queen.

  9. truninerfan49 says: Mar 10, 2013 1:34 PM

    I am so sick of this guy

  10. daknight93 says: Mar 10, 2013 1:34 PM

    very arrogant demands by Tony…More money with no training camp..other players will rebel and ask for same treatment

  11. justintuckrule says: Mar 10, 2013 1:36 PM

    The strahan plan. Say you’re undecided about retiring and then sign 3 days before week 1. This way the team won’t turn off the rest of the players showing favortism

  12. andyreidsbossoms says: Mar 10, 2013 1:38 PM

    Why is it all about $? no one plays sports for the love of the game anymore

  13. northshorejag says: Mar 10, 2013 1:40 PM

    He’s been a great Falcon, but he should head back to Arrowhead for one more year

  14. nccrabman says: Mar 10, 2013 1:55 PM

    Right before he signs the contract, someone should play him the Hard Knocks footage where he’s giving Dwayne Bowe grief for not working hard enough in camp. Can never claim again he’s playing because of his love for the game.

  15. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Mar 10, 2013 1:58 PM

    C’mon, Tony. You’re hurting everyone’s feelings!

    Kidding aside, good for Gonzalez. Plenty of teams use their leverage to get players to take less money but in this case the player has the leverage.

  16. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 10, 2013 2:01 PM

    $7MM sounds a bit rich for a guy at his age, although I probably would have said the same thing last year and he ended up having a great year. But that amount is about triple the average salary and I don’t see the value in tying up that much money into ONE TE that may or may not be able to produce like he used to.

    It’s a lot of risk with very little room for reward. It’s time to pass on Tony instead of to him.

  17. tarmacjerry says: Mar 10, 2013 2:04 PM

    Players around the league know… you become a surefire HOF’er you get privileges. Every player on that team wants to win a SB, so I don’t see anyone griping about it.

    I know the backup TE will be happy this… they’ll have a better chance to show their skills.

  18. godofwine330 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:10 PM

    Listen, when it comes down to it the thing that older players hate more than anything else is the off-season work that they already know. Imagine being put back a grade and you are there with people there for the first time. You know most if not all of the stuff. YOu don’t need the same teaching, the same time telling you stuff you already know. For him it is the same. He doesn’t want to have to do the stuff he already knows and I can’t blame him for his not wanting to do it.

  19. skiss68 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:11 PM

    I think he has earned it!!!

  20. sisqsage says: Mar 10, 2013 2:12 PM

    Everything went right for the Falcons last year (easy sched etc.) until the NFC championship game. The defense wasn’t good enough and just took a hit cutting Abraham.
    Smith isn’t the right coach to get over the hump. Stay “95 percent” retired or whatever the percentage was, Tony.

  21. SeenThisB4 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:16 PM

    $7MM is a bargain for him. Pay the man! He doesn’t need camp. There’s hardly any hitting in camp anyway.

  22. wrenches2pipes says: Mar 10, 2013 2:18 PM

    Every year we fans are subjected to sports columns during training camp about how older veterans are having to work extra hard because their physical attributes are declining. It’s nauseating reading them. I hope Tony once and for all puts an end to those columns. Good luck Tony!!

  23. milehigh719 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:24 PM

    Shannon Sharpe was better IMO

  24. downslide33 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:31 PM

    For a Falcons team with an image of being soft , Im not sure this is a good idea.

    Let him sign somewhere else. There are some good Te’s avail in free agency and in the draft this year.

  25. stevez51 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:34 PM

    So if the Falcons get knocked out in the playoffs next season does he give it 1 more year..???

  26. bennyb82 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:36 PM

    Some of you are dogging Gonzalez already for possibly wanting to miss training camp in order to be back with the team. If TG is borderline on retirement, ownership is probably going to use what they can to entice him to come back. TG may have not even thought about skipping training camp, but maybe ownership is throwing that out there publicly to help influence his decision. “Oh you are not sure you eant to come back? Well you can skip all those drills that make you cringe…oh and we will pay you more too.” Your move Tony!

  27. bennyb82 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:36 PM

    Some of you are dogging Gonzalez already for possibly wanting to miss training camp in order to be back with the team. If TG is borderline on retirement, ownership is probably going to use what they can to entice him to come back. TG may have not even thought about skipping training camp, but maybe ownership is throwing that out there publicly to help influence his decision. “Oh you are not sure you want to come back? Well you can skip all those drills that make you cringe…oh and we will pay you more too.” Your move Tony!

  28. kingdm8 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:41 PM

    Most people don’t realize that others won’t rebel against Gonzalez getting special treatment. It’s not high school or college. These guys have been watching him play since they were kids. Heck, the majority of them were in junior high or elementary school when he came into the league. This year’s rookie class was probably in kindergarten or preschool. These guys idolize guys like him. They won’t begrudge him special treatment. They know it’s a business and the best guys are going to be treated differently.

  29. trojan33sc says: Mar 10, 2013 2:45 PM

    You can’t compare a TE to a QB, in Favre’s case he was in a new offense and has to be in sync with the entire offense as he had to “run” it ! Gonzales is a only a route runner and already in sync with Matty “Ice” so there will be no drop-off. So if he’s willing to come back for one more season as long as he can miss camp, so be it !!!

  30. pb420 says: Mar 10, 2013 2:49 PM

    Sorry Tony but you’ll never get a ring with matty lukewarm at the helm. Best to retire now and save yourself extra wear and tear. I’ve yet to see an NFL team that has gone from scoring a whole 2 points in a postseason appearance, to giving up consecutive 20 and 17 point leads the following year’s postseason, and then go on to win the SB the following season. Absolutely overrated.

  31. abninf says: Mar 10, 2013 2:49 PM

    More money for less work? And he’s a veteran leader? IF (key word) this report is true then I just lost some respect.

  32. gammynomnom says: Mar 10, 2013 2:51 PM

    I’m pretty sure Tom Brady still goes to training camp, Tony Giva.

  33. greatestgamensports says: Mar 10, 2013 2:59 PM

    Bye bye tony you had a great run so go ahead and retire your starting to turn into Brett favre so retire b4 u ruin your good name!

  34. johnnyjagfan says: Mar 10, 2013 3:04 PM

    Talking once to a 17-year vet of the NFL during the Favre skipping camp thing who played on the OL, he said that if he didn’t have to go to camp in August and do the 2-a-days that he’d of gone back no problem.

    This is just fine for the Falcons’ locker room. He’s Tony Gonzales.

    Now get Boldin and trade Harry Douglas for some low rounders! Forget defense!

  35. kellogg1118 says: Mar 10, 2013 3:14 PM

    Best TE in history, had his mind set that he was retiring at end of season, still plays at a high level above 95% of TEs in the league now, Falcons are begging him to come back I think he’s earned his right to make demands

  36. whyrunbackwardsyoullvomit says: Mar 10, 2013 3:16 PM

    I call BS on this story. If he comes back then it will be for a chance to go to/win the Superbowl and he’ll be all in. If he hires Bus Cook as his agent then I’ll change my mind.

  37. skippynj says: Mar 10, 2013 3:17 PM

    Shamed into retirement by Jimmy Graham and now he wants some more? Don’t do it Tony. Just go away quietly because you’ll never get a ring with those clowns in ‘lanta. JG>tg.

  38. m1000be says: Mar 10, 2013 3:18 PM

    Maybe I should ask for a raise AND less time at work…..

  39. jagsfan1 says: Mar 10, 2013 3:22 PM

    Great Great Player….glad he is coming back for 1 more…but EVERYTHING – whether football related or not…EVERYTHING really is alll about the $$ – isn’t it?

  40. mrlaloosh says: Mar 10, 2013 3:48 PM

    It’s déjà vue all over again. Too bad he has to play for an inferior coach.

  41. chucknorrissinspiration says: Mar 10, 2013 4:31 PM

    If it WASN’T tony I’d say it sounds selfish and ridiculous but…..

  42. justafanofitall says: Mar 10, 2013 4:52 PM

    Seems like the media jumped all over Brett as if he was the only one who did it. Why is the media playing nice this time? It goes to show all athletes play the game….

  43. egomaniac247 says: Mar 10, 2013 4:53 PM

    I don’t get the criticism.

    Put yourself in his shoes. 15 years + in the league, thinks he’s gonna retire……and it’s been well-known that the Falcons leadership has said they’re going to try to persuade him to come back.

    So if they want to throw the bank at him and let him rest his body, it’s his prerogative to accept it. That’s called being in the drivers seat of the negotiation.

    What would you do in his shoes? You can say “oh I’d retire with respect” but if someone flashed a ton of money at you and knocked off a big portion of the work, you’d probably accept too.

    Besides, after 15+ years of hall of fame worthy level of play, what’s he really going to learn/improve on in training camp? Heck he’s probably teaching the TE coaches something.

  44. myosin10 says: Mar 10, 2013 5:19 PM

    He earned the right to miss training camp at this point in his career and if the Falcons agree to it they feel the same. If you wanted to retire but got offered more money and more vacation would you take it?

  45. dirtybirds233 says: Mar 10, 2013 5:24 PM

    I think it’s time to move on. We’re already a little under 15 million in cap space with WillyMo’s signing, and we’re still in the hunt for SJax and/or a veteran pass rusher. Not to mention if the team wants to resign Grimes or Baker AND we have to pay our draftees….then again Tony never said this, a Falcons player said Tony said it.

  46. bruno1433 says: Mar 10, 2013 6:20 PM

    Sign him right before start of the season 1 year $1 mill 6 mill signing bonus.

  47. shkz4 says: Mar 10, 2013 6:46 PM

    So he wants to come back for more money, and not try to win a championship??

    hmmm…and he wants to miss training camp, now where did I heard that before.

  48. immafubared says: Mar 10, 2013 7:11 PM

    Give it up Tony. Your team ain’t going to the SB again. Retire, play with your kids and quit fooling around.;

  49. conormacleod says: Mar 10, 2013 7:19 PM

    Here’s the deal boys. If you are one of the very best that’s ever performed your job, you get to make, or break, the rules. Stop with the stupid comments of basically “it’s not fair”.

  50. noring4youstill says: Mar 10, 2013 7:39 PM

    The Detroit of the South

  51. bigslizzle4twizzle says: Mar 10, 2013 7:45 PM

    Anyone who knows about Tony Gonzalez as a player realizes that after he is obsessed with being in shape and eating right. Atlanta wants to make a Super Bowl run and that is what Tony is after too. He doesn’t need training camp to get into football shape. I’m sure every single player on that team is perfectly fine with him missing camp. Anyone who is upset that he wants an extra 2 million and thinks he’s not worth it should post how many balls his favorite team TE pulled in last year. I’m pretty sure Tony’s 94 is better than most. As for the guy who says Shannon sharpe was better?? Show me the stats to prove it. I’m willing to bet that Shannon would even say he is the greatest to ever play the position.

  52. rajbais says: Mar 10, 2013 8:01 PM

    Hopefully not too much cash, but people have to realize that older players need more rest.

    The less he does in pads this offseason the better it will be for him and the Falcons.

    It’s not always about age it’s about who can help! If everyone could help replacing players would be no problem and there would likely no one great set of players.

    He’s a great player and everyone has to realize that Atlanta is not ready to move on without him.

  53. jkaflagg says: Mar 10, 2013 11:14 PM

    It would be tricky, but there are an lot of benefits; great player who is always in great shape and knows the offense, more practice time for the young TE ( who you WILL draft this year TD) , reasonable one year salary. Gonzo is not the flake that Favre was and doesn’t need to be as involved as a QB anyway. The way this team has been built from within, it’s unlikely anyone will begrudge a first ballot HOF guy a little more leeway; a lot of Falcon veterans already have their workload limited. We’ll probably get a silly tweet or two from Roddy, but nobody pays much attention to that anyways…..

    My only complaint: would thrown to Tony on 4th&5 in the title game,even if he was triple-covered….not only is a good bet to make the difficult catch, he also draws flags other receivers don’t…..the refs know they’re looking at first ballot HOF too…..

  54. everton422 says: Mar 11, 2013 8:50 AM

    I am getting a good laugh at some of these comments I’m reading. I keep forgetting that rumors are true 100% of the time. Tony is not that kind of player to demand money when his biggest goal would be going out with a Super Bowl.

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