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Chiefs Pantalones
12-31-2006, 01:59 AM
Will Chiefs keep Tony?
They say they won’t let Gonzalez go, but star tight end could become a free agent in March.

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

To get an “It’s A Wonderful Life” glimpse of what their existence would be like without Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs can just look back to last month’s game against Oakland at Arrowhead Stadium.

Gonzalez didn’t play for the first time in seven years because of an injured shoulder. The Chiefs’ passing attack was, in a word, ugly.

They had a season-low 92 passing yards, which was barely enough to beat the otherwise miserable Raiders.

Already the Chiefs’ leading receiver in five of the last seven seasons, Gonzalez is even more prominent under the more conservative passing game of Herm Edwards and offensive coordinator Mike Solari (I hate Herm and Solari, we will not win with them).

He towers over their receiving stats, leading Eddie Kennison by a considerable margin in both catches and yardage.

Understanding how life would be without Gonzalez is an issue for the Chiefs because he’s in the last year of his contract. Gonzalez could become a free agent in March if he doesn’t sign a new contract or isn’t designated as the Chiefs’ franchise player.

President/general manager Carl Peterson wasn’t available for an interview last week, but he has said the Chiefs plan to sign Gonzalez. Making him the franchise player, which would for all intents and purposes take Gonzalez off the free-agent market, could cost the Chiefs more than $10 million.

“You always want to keep your good players if they’re playing up to their caliber of playing, if you feel like they’re contributing to winning, which (Gonzalez) has done,” Edwards said. “You want him to come back.

“You can always replace a player. That’s part of the process. How productive you’ll be, that’s yet to be seen.”

Gonzalez didn’t wish to speak for this story, saying he didn’t want his situation to be a distraction before today’s final regular-season game against Jacksonville at Arrowhead Stadium.

Others were speaking, knowing a further decline in the passing attack would be ahead without Gonzalez.

“It would be drastically affected,” quarterback Trent Green said. “Just having him out there can create opportunities for the other receivers because such an emphasis is placed on him. That’s pretty clear. Teams generally try to put their best defender on him. That shows a lot of respect.

“Last week, (Oakland’s Nnamdi) Asomugha never really plays the slot position or the nickel position, but they were moving him inside on third-down situations to cover Tony. That shows the respect the Raiders have for him, and that’s been the case for a number of different teams as well. Denver has matched up Champ Bailey on him before in third-down situations.”

The Chiefs would also miss Gonzalez’s ability to outjump opponents for contested passes.

“I’ve never played with anyone like him in that regard,” quarterback Damon Huard said. “When that ball is up in the air, it’s his. He will get into the air and make a play on it. He’s a basketball player going to get the rebound.”

Without Gonzalez, the Chiefs would have to acquire another tight end. Their only other true tight end is 33-year-old Jason Dunn, who is valuable to the Chiefs for his powerful blocking skills. Dunn, who has four catches this season, isn’t in Gonzalez’s category as a pass receiver.

Fullback Kris Wilson has played some at tight end, but the Chiefs don’t believe he has the skills to play the position full time. Wilson has 14 catches and three touchdowns, but also can’t match Gonzalez’s receiving skills.

The Chiefs would miss his presence in the middle of the field no matter what they might do to replace him.

“He’s basically the safety route,” rookie quarterback Brodie Croyle said. “If everything is in doubt, you just throw it to Tony. That might as well be part of our (playbook). It seems like every time we throw the ball to him, he ends up with it.”

The loss of Gonzalez, 30, would shift more emphasis to the wide receivers, but it’s difficult to see where the extra catches would come from. Kennison had another solid season, but he will be 34 in January.

Samie Parker is still trying to establish himself as a starter. Dante Hall had another disappointing season as the slot receiver. Rod Gardner made no impact this year. Rookie Jeff Webb has some potential but may be at least another season away.

“It’s more than the passing game,” Huard said. “Tony’s a very underrated blocker. Nobody ever talks about that, but rarely does his guy make the tackle. He’s such a smart player. All of that shifting and movement we do, he’s always on top of that. Tight ends are the guys who shift and move the most. It would be tough for a young guy to come in and do all of that.

“There’s a whole dimension he brings beyond just the receiving part of it.”

Rausch
12-31-2006, 02:39 AM
Dumping him would be idiocy squared.

RedThat
12-31-2006, 02:42 AM
Dumping him would be idiocy squared.

agreed. they gotta keep him.

ChiefaRoo
12-31-2006, 04:03 AM
Without Tony you might as well just start over with young guys and unload all the older guys onto the market like Kennison, Green, Hicks, Wiegmann, Shields and start a completely new youth movement with some high profile free agents mixed in. Personally, I think it's crucial that the key Tony G.

milkman
12-31-2006, 06:04 AM
Without Tony you might as well just start over with young guys and unload all the older guys onto the market like Kennison, Green, Hicks, Wiegmann, Shields and start a completely new youth movement with some high profile free agents mixed in. Personally, I think it's crucial that the key Tony G.

High profile free agents?

WTF?

Youth and role players.

Screw high profile.

boogblaster
12-31-2006, 06:12 AM
Im on the Gonzo stays bandwagon ....

Tuckdaddy
12-31-2006, 08:04 AM
It's not crucial to keep TG. It's crucial to build our o and d lines to dominating form.

I want to keep him but let's not sell our future on it.

the Talking Can
12-31-2006, 08:27 AM
I'm starting to hope that tony leaves, maybe it will force us to actually rebuild...

the Talking Can
12-31-2006, 08:29 AM
It's not crucial to keep TG. It's crucial to build our o and d lines to dominating form.



YES

THIS IS THE ONLY TRUTH.

THIS IS WHAT MATTERS.

but we've got CP, so nevermind....

StcChief
12-31-2006, 09:51 AM
Gonzo stays.

ChiefaRoo
12-31-2006, 01:42 PM
High profile free agents?

WTF?

Youth and role players.

Screw high profile.


I agree. I don't think this team needs to start over next year. Tony G. is key.