Thomas Dimitroff, the Atlanta Falcons general manager, wants tight end Tony Gonzalez to stay with the team at least for another season.
Gonzalez talked about retiring at the end of the season, and was fairly certain he would after the Falcons won their playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, which was also his first playoff win as well. Dimitroff is lobbying extremely hard to get the tight end to play at least another season, along with guys like Roddy White as well.
The Falcons GM believe that Gonzalez still has a few good years left in him, even though the future hall of famer is 36-years old. Dimitroff is telling the truth though. Despite Gonzalez’s age, it cannot be disputed that he is one of the best tight ends in the league. It is not just because he redefined the position or because he owns most of the records but because he is still extremely productive. The numbers back it up though. Tony Gonzalez caught 93 balls for 930 yards and eight touchdowns for the regular season. How many tight ends had numbers like that this year?
Gonzalez is a vital part of the Falcons offensive attack and part of the reason the wide receivers White and Julio Jones get some of the match ups they get. The Falcons tight end still has great hands, reasonable speed and he still has hops too.
Dimitroff also might be looking at the fact Atlanta is not really prepared for Gonzalez to retire. Quick, name the Falcons back-up tight end. You probably drew a huge blank. Atlanta has other tight ends on their roster but all of them are extremely young. Chase Coffman is the longest tenured tight end after Gonzalez with three years in the NFL under his belt; not to mention Gonzalez is 10 years older than him.
If Gonzalez retires, Atlanta will have to make a major move to try a land a tight end of equal caliber. Some of the more notable tight ends on the market right now are Fred Davis of the Washington Redskins and Martellus Bennett of the New York Giants, to name a few.
Tony Gonzalez does not owe it to the Falcons to give them another year, but he should definitely play next season because he still has gas in the tank. Gonzalez could probably play at least until he is 38, which would give Dimitroff plenty of time to find a suitable replacement to complement to Falcons offensive attack.