The Atlanta Falcons should be looking to trade veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline (4 p.m. ET), but the team is reportedly not going to make a deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
This is the wrong decision for all parties involved.
Atlanta is a team without a direction, and with a 2-5 record thus far in 2013, all hope to make a run at the Super Bowl—or even get into the playoffs—is almost completely gone.
Not only would the Falcons give the class-act veteran a chance to fight for a championship in another city, but trading Gonzalez would also likely yield a mid-round draft pick the team could use to continue the rebuilding process.
Gonzalez could be a difference-maker on a contending team lacking elite depth or skill at the tight end position. A franchise like the Green Bay Packers could be buyers with Jermichael Finely out indefinitely, and a return to Kansas City, where the first-place Chiefs are 8-0, would be a compelling story. But he will wallow in Atlanta to end the season if a deal doesn’t happen.
While Gonzo won’t ask for a trade, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons should realize making a deal now is the right move for everyone. In what he claims will be his last season in the league, the franchise owes the veteran the chance to win after all of the hard work he has invested in the team.
Atlanta has a very strong core of young stars, but with injuries to receiver Julio Jones and Roddy White, as well as running back Steven Jackson, Gonzalez has been the main focus of every defense going head-to-head with the Falcons in 2013.
Even with double and triple coverage on every play, the veteran has amassed 38 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns this season. Other teams in the NFL see those numbers and the elite level of consistent play and would love to make a deal.
Add in the extra value Gonzalez offers as a born leader that can bring a locker room together with his presence instead of being a distraction, and this is a deal Atlanta must make for the good of the future and the good of the player.
This is Gonzalez’s 17th season in the NFL. With little time left in his career, the veteran deserves the chance to win a Super Bowl. He won't get that in Atlanta this year, so the Falcons must make a deal.