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Should New England Patriots Try to Trade for Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez?

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 07: Tight end Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball as defensive back Ellis Lankster #21 of the New York Jets defends during their game at the Georgia Dome on October 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Samer IsmailAnalyst IIOctober 10, 2013

The New England Patriots struggled on offense in their Week 5 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, putting up just six points and snapping Tom Brady's 52-game touchdown pass streak.

While the Patriots just got back wide receiver Danny Amendola and should have All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski and running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley returning in the next few weeks, it appears they could still use more offensive firepower; certainly their output has not been anywhere near the levels of recent seasons.

One possible solution might be Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez.

 

Why the Falcons might want to trade Gonzalez

Why might the Falcons be willing to trade him? First, although Vegas put Atlanta's Super Bowl odds at 12–1 before the season began, the 1-4 Falcons have struggled mightily this season, falling most recently in Week 5 to the New York Jets, 30–28.

Even worse, the Falcons have lost star wideout Julio Jones for the season, after fracturing his foot.

The Falcons have placed WR Julio Jones on injured reserve and signed WR Brian Robiskie.

—Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) October 10, 2013

 

Worst of all, the red-hot New Orleans Saints are 5–0, making the Falcons a long shot for anything other than a wild-card spot. According to playoffstatus.com, Atlanta has only about a two percent chance of winning the division and only an 11 percent chance of getting a wild card.

 

The Falcons don't want to trade Gonzalez—yet

On the other hand, the Falcons have called trade rumors "preposterous," according to an ESPN.com report. Moreover, Fox Sports' Jay Glazer says Gonzalez himself doesn't want to be traded:

I've seen a lot of tweets w rumors that Falcons should trade Tony Gonzalez, just got off the phone w him he absolutely does NOT want that. Wants to finish up in ATL

Of course, since no-trade clauses are pretty rare in the NFL, it's not really his call to make. If the Falcons keep losing, the likelihood of a trade should increase.

 

What would the Patriots offer?

Spotrac.com reports that Gonzalez's 2013 salary is $3.5 million, so it would cost the Patriots about $200,000 a week to trade for Gonzalez, in addition to whatever draft picks they give up.

Gonzalez would certainly help the Patriots offense. I would expect that, while it might take a week or two, he would be able to contribute to the Patriots offense pretty quickly. And the Patriots would also give Gonzalez a much better chance to finally win a Super Bowl ring.

While Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notorious for hoarding draft picks, he is certainly willing to make midseason trades to address areas of need: last season, the Patriots traded a fourth-round pick for defensive back Aqib Talib. If they can acquire Gonzalez for a fourth-round pick or maybe even a third-round pick, it would be worth the trade. (If the Patriots had a good chance of keeping Gonzalez around for more than a year, then I would even consider a second-round pick, although I imagine Belichick would consider that a bit much, and would probably ask for a late-round pick to even out the trade, as they did with Talib.)

That said, I would not expect the Falcons to make the trade now, since this is their bye week. If Gonzalez is traded, I would expect it to happen right around the trade deadline of Oct. 29, after Week 8, especially if they drop one or both of their next two games.

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