According to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, the Atlanta Falcons are “cautiously optimistic” that tight end Tony Gonzalez will come back for another season. The only catch is that he may request to sit out most, if not all of training camp.
According to multiple team sources, the Falcons are cautiously optimistic that Gonzalez, the second-leading receiver in NFL history, will return for another potential title run in 2013. Sources close to Gonzalez, an unrestricted free agent, said he is contemplating a return at the right price, provided he can miss some or all of training camp this summer.
“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.
Another team source added, “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 high-ranking Falcons official indicated the team would not likely let either of those issues become an impediment to a deal. Gonzalez, who had a $3.9 million base salary in 2012 and earned a $1 million roster bonus, is still productive (he caught 93 passes last season and shined in the postseason) and is known for his phenomenal physical conditioning.
“The money is there,” a source close to Gonzalez said. “Working out the days he can miss is the biggest holdup.”
Gonzalez has been a factor in the Falcons’ offense over the past few years. If he misses training camp, he may be rusty when he gets back on the field when the season begins. But it’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish. I’m sure the Falcons are willing to let him do what he wants.