Tony Gonzalez has signed for two years, but really he’s signed for one year.
A little earlier this afternoon Gonzo’s return to Altanta for one final(?) season became officially official when he signed a two-year contract, according to Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s worth a total of $14 million, $7 million of which is guaranteed.
But yes, although it’s formally in the paperwork and on the books, the second year will surely be treated as a player option, and it functions mostly to ensure that in the unlikely event that Gonzalez decides to return for yet another season in 2014, the Falcons don’t have to go through this exercise again a year from now and risk possibly losing him to another team. There was only ever a faint chance of that happening this time around, but it was still a lingering threat.
Oh, and here’s an interesting little bit of awful. I realize Gonzalez is a unique and unprecedented talent, and we may never see a tight end — a position that absorbs a lot of punishment — last as long as he has while still playing at such a high level. But it’s absurd that even though he just turned 37, Gonzalez will make more guaranteed money throughout the life of this contract than Wes Welker will with his. The newly-minted Bronco is five years younger, and still also playing at an elite level.
At first it was reported that Welker’s contract contains $12 million in guaranteed cash. But earlier today more details were released, and that guaranteed number fell to $6 million, which makes my mind melt. If I may digress a little further — and it’s my blog, dammit, so there — that severe lack of guaranteed money in Welker’s deal makes the Patriots decision even more troubling. They bought youth with Danny Amendola, and a lot of potential to grow into. But they also bought a brittle mess who’s appeared in only 12 games over the past two years. And they did it for $4 million more in guaranteed money than what it would have cost to retain Welker. End rant.
Back to Gonzalez. He was third in fantasy points among tight ends in 2012 (141 points), and in a stacked vertical Atlanta offense that led to 93 targets for the tight end this past season, he should be drafted as such in August.