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Tony Gonzalez is back for another season with the Atlanta Falcons after contemplating retirement throughout the entire 2012 season. But he told me in a phone interview Friday that the 2013 season was definitely “a one-and-done” situation.
Gonzalez won’t play after 2013 even though he signed a two-year contract recently. “That was more for cap reasons,” said Gonzalez. “I was trying to make it cap friendly. If we can’t get it done this year, I’ll gladly enter the next chapter of my life.”
Atlanta’s offense is uniquely potent because no team can cover Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White at the same time. When Gonzalez rides off into the sunset, wouldn’t it be nice if the Falcons had his replacement already on the roster?
Not only would that make sense for continuity reasons, bringing in Gonzalez’s replacement now so the rookie could spend a season learning from the best tight end ever to put on cleats would be massively beneficial.
Atlanta is likely going defense with its first pick, putting Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz out of reach for the Falcons because they are likely first-round picks.
Florida tight end Jordan Reed led the Southeastern Conference in receptions last year and has decent wide receiver skills. He needs to add bulk, but could be a good option in the third round.
Dion Sims from Michigan State looks like a lineman but can move like an agile tight end. He’s had some injury setbacks during his career, but if he can convince the Falcons he’s on the path to an injury free career, he might make sense in the fourth round.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.
Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.