According to CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora, the three teams that were named and apparently have made the most sense are the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots and his former team the Kansas City Chiefs.
If these rumors are true those three teams make a lot of sense, and he would be a great addition to the respective teams’ passing games.
First, New England is the team I believe that has the most leverage in this situation because they use tight ends like no other team in the NFL. The tight end is a staple of their passing offense since tight end Rob Gronowski began breaking records back in 2011. Obviously, with what happened with the Aaron Hernandez situation during the offseason and with the status of Gronkowski still up in the air, it would make sense to bring a guy like Gonzalez in to give quarterback Tom Brady some help.
Just to give you some perspective on just how bad the Patriots tight ends have been, I’ll give you Tony Gonzalez’s stats — 33 catches, 339 yards and three touchdowns in five games. The Patriots have just five catches at the tight end position as a whole in five games.
The health of Gronkowski is still a roller coaster, and even if he does play this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, who’s to say he won’t get hurt later in the season? Plus, when this offense has two healthy tight ends, look out.
As far as the Chiefs go, they are my No. 2 contender on the list of hopefuls. The 37-year-old Gonzalez spent his first 12 NFL seasons of his 17-year career in Kansas City and has a bond with that city. It just so happens that they are 5-0 this season, have a fairly bland passing game led by the ultimate game-managing quarterback in Alex Smith and Tony is looking for a ring.
Can he get one playing in the same division as Peyton Manning? Hard to say, but it might be worth a shot and one last trip down memory lane for Gonzalez. It also helps their cause that despite being 5-0, their top two tight ends, Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce, have been battling injuries all year long and are both listed as questionable for their showdown against the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
Finally, the Ravens. Look, no one predicted a season-ending hip injury for Dennis Pitta back in August — he just started running for the first time since the surgery last week. However, there were concerns with the receiving corps and tight end position even before that happened and it just so happened to escalate. Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark have been… well, inconsistent and it has cost the Ravens some games (i.e. two dropped and tipped passes that led to interceptions against the Buffalo Bills that resulted in a 23-20 loss). Baltimore has virtually no seam or middle-of-the-field passing game as it stands, and if Torrey Smith is stopped, it’s going to be tough sledding for the Ravens.
The move for Gonzalez makes sense, but what would Atlanta want? Sure, it is a one-year fling as Gonzalez declared this his last season as a professional football player, but he is still damn good. Do they want left tackle Bryant McKinnie? How many late round selections will it take?
Personally, I think New England has the upper hand in this battle as they love using the tight ends in their aerial attack. For the Ravens, give Kyle Juszcyk a shot. After all, you don’t spend a fourth-round pick on a guy for him to be a glorified special teams player right? And I heard he caught a few passes as a Harvard Crimson tight end in the past.