View Full Version : How much is Gonzo really worth (dollars)?

keg in kc
07-21-2001, 02:42 AM
Gonzo is contracted through the 2002 season, and I think we should make every effort to sign him to an extension following the conclusion of this year in order to avoid a nasty free agency/tag situation. That raises the obvious question, however, of how much he's worth.

Here's some recent TE contract numbers, and some stats for the player involved:

In 1998, Frank Wycheck signed a 6-year, $15 million extension including a $2.5 million signing bonus.
1995: 40 receptions for 471 yards, 1 TD, 11.8 ypc
1996: 53 receptions for 511 yards, 6 TDs, 9.6 ypc
1997: 63 receptions for 748 yards, 4 TDs, 11.9 ypc

In 1999, Kyle Brady signed a 5-year, $14.4 million contract including a $4 million signing bonus.
1996: 15 receptions for 144 yards, 1 TD, 9.6 ypc.
1997: 22 receptions for 238 yards, 2 TDs, 10.8 ypc
1998: 30 receptions for 315 yards, 5 TDs, 10.5 ypc.

In 2000, Ken Dilger signed a 5-year, $15 million contract.
1997: 27 receptions for 380 yards, 3 TDs, 14.1 ypc. 1 100-yard game.
1998: 31 receptions for 303 yards, 1 TD, 9.8 ypc.
1999: 40 receptinos for 479 yards, 2 TDs, 12.0 ypc.

In 2000, Shannon Sharpe signed a 4-year, $13 million contract.
1997: 72 receptions for 1107 yards, 6 TDs, 15.4 ypc. 4 100-yard games.
1998: 64 receptions for 768 yards, 10 TDs, 12.0 ypc.
1999: 23 receptions for 224 yards, 9.7 ypc (broken collarbone).

In comparison, here's Tony's stats from the last two seasons:

1999: 76 receptions for 849 yards, 11 TDs, 11..3 ypc.
2000: 93 receptions for 1203 yards, 9 TDs, 12.9 ypc, 6 100-yard games.

Clearly, Tony has exceeded the single-season performance of any of the other TE's in the league, including Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe has him in terms of career numbers, obviously, but in terms of single season marks in receptions, yardage, touchdowns and 100-yard games, Gonzo has him, while Shannon has the advantage in only a single stat: yards per catch.

Going further, assuming he has a repeat performance in 2001, I just don't think you can judge Tony against the other tight ends. In 2000, he had 22 more receptions than any other TE (Freddie Jones), 400 yards more than any other TE (Shannon Sharpe), and 4 more TDs than any other TE (Sharpe again).

You have to judge him against the wide recievers, IMHO.

Throwing WRs into the mix, Gonzo was 10th in the NFL in receptions, while his 1203 yards would rank him 14th and his 9 touchdowns would net him a tie for 6th in the NFL.

Now, I have a single WR in mind who I am going to focus on (this is draggin' on long enough...). People have probably seen me make this comparison before.

This offseason, Eric Moulds signed a 6 year, 38.234 million dollar contract including a $12 million signing bonus. Here's his stats:

1998: 67 receptions for 1368 yards and 9 TDs. 4 100-yard games.
1999: 65 receptions for 994 yards and 7 TDs. 3 100-yard games.
2000: 94 receptions for 1326 yards and 5 TDs. 7 100-yard games.

So, based on that much, I believe Gonzo should be offered a contract worth, roughly, $30 million over 6 years including an $8 million signing bonus. That's a significant increase over the $3 million/year numbers that the other TEs in the league seem to be worth, but it's less than Moulds, who is a bit better than Tony in terms of production. I think it's a fair deal, and it's representative of the value of Tony to the team, at least right now.

I hope we do something like this and take care of the issue next offseason, and don't give him a chance to test the free agent waters in 2003. It's a lot of money to spend, obviously, especially on a tight end, but, then again, Tony really isn't "just a tight end" is he. I mean, literally, he's a quarter of our offense (26.8 percent of our passes went his way in 2000 - 12th in the league, including WRs, btw ;))


07-21-2001, 05:24 AM
I think Tony deserves to be the highest paid tight end in football. How far above that you go is the 20 million dolllar question. While I realize that he was 25% of the offense last year, would he have been in a Saunders offense??? Or was his percentage high because of Elvis looking for him first, and then looking for DA or Sly?? I haven't seen a play this year, but I would think that the new offense will look for the big play first, and then for a dump off to Tony or a back. While I still think his numbers will be big for TE's, I don't believe we'll see numbers similar to the ones he posted last year.

So... would it behoove the Chiefs to wait until the end of the year to negotiate a contract with Tony. The risk of him becoming a free agent grows with each day. While I realize they could use the franchise tag on him, would it be better for them to spend the cash now, or try to negotiate at the end of the year, thinking that they could save some money due to the decrease in production. ( If there actually is a decrease )

Hopefully the Chiefs will step up to the plate and make him a good offer. While I don't know if it has to be "WR money", I do believe it has to be inbetween somewhere. I'd say if he was in the top 15 receivers as far as contracts go, he will stick around.

07-21-2001, 08:03 AM
Even in this offense, Gonzo will be a big part of it. The comparison has been made to Kellen Winslow, and that is a fair one.
I think that the type of money that Kyle is speaking of is nt ot of line.
Winslows and Gonzos don't come around that often.

07-21-2001, 08:32 AM
I think he deserves WR money, and I think Moulds is a good benchmark. Getting the kind of production we get out of Tony from the TE position gives us a serious advantage over every other team. It's like having a 2nd baseman that hits 50 homers. They don't come around often as milkman said, and I think he should be justly rewarded. He adds a whole new dimension to our team in that he can line up in so many positions within so many formations, and get himself opposite a LB, SS or a CB, and regularly commands a double team. Because of his rare mix of size, speed and strength, he matches up well against any member of the opposing D. I realise I am stating the obvious, but my point is that I think he is as valuable to our team, as any single receiver is to any other team i.e. Moss. I hope we don't let him leave before we realise that DA and SlyMo (or whoever) would be hard pushed to have 1000 yard seasons without Gonzo commanding so much defensive attention. Whatever position he plays at, he should be paid an amount commensurate with his importance to the squad. How else could you justify a $7m SB, $26m contract to an offensive guard?!?!?! (that is what Shields got, isn't it? ;)). With our cap getting back in order, I wouldn't begrudge him Moulds-type money at all. JMO :cool:

07-21-2001, 09:24 AM
I don't disagree with the evaluation of Tony's talant that I'm seeing here, but why would you want to spend more of our cap money than is necessary?

We should sign Tony for the lowest possible $$ he'll sign for ~ Period!

We can easily make him the highest paid TE in the game without jumping to WR type $$. I want to have the absolute best teams we can have over the next ten years and that means that every penny of cap money will be important.

I predict two things:

First, Carl will sign Tony to an extension as I described above and it will take a lot of time to do it...

Second, the Press will be all over it and will be making Carl out to be a villian for trying to 'cheat' tony.

take it to the bank ~ this will happen and many fans will side with the press instead of their team...

Clint in Wichita
07-21-2001, 09:30 AM
I agree that Gonzo should be offered top 10 WR money.

Those other TEs, even guys like Wycheck, Walls, and Sharpe, can't hold TG's jock. Neither can 95% of the WRs in the league.

Gonzo is redefining the TE position. He's more of an extra-large WR than an athletic TE.

07-21-2001, 09:41 AM

I hope your predictions are wrong ;), but I fear they are not. IMO we can't afford to lowball our team's star. Yeah, there's no point in CP opening the bidding at $30-35m, but I do think that that's where it will end up after fair negotiations, and I'm fine with that. We need to show him that we want him here, and pay him accordingly. Gonzo's worth it IMO. Assuming he wants to remain a Chief it will all be worked out, but we'll have to pay. If he wants to move, he probably will, and some other team will offer him top 10 WR money in a heartbeat. We'll get draft pick compensation and be lucky to replace him even if we get 2 #1's. I hope Gonzo is above getting involved in acrimonious hold-outs, and I hope CP is above giving him the excuse to, by tagging him and offering him qualifying tender offers for the TE position and all that BS.

First things first, I hope we have a good season, Tony hooks up with Green and puts up good numbers and buys into DVs system. Then he'll want to stay (if he doesn't already) and if both guys (Gonzo and CP) put their egos on ice, a fair contract (WR money) will be arrived at in no time.

07-21-2001, 11:34 AM

I don't disagree (in essence) with what you are saying. I am not trying to make the case that he isn't worth $xxx.

My fear is that during negotiations (which WILL be long and drawn out) the press will whip up public support against Carl and make it that much more difficult to sign him to a reasonably cap friendly situation. This type of public manipulation by Whitlock (et al), will cost the club dearly and the Press could care less as long as they are looking like the good guys.

Personally, I hate being used as a pawn and I can promise you that the Press will attempt to use us fans in this manner. Unfortunately, I think we have a lot of fans that will unknowingly fall into this trap.

confident that tony, and the team, will have a good year...

07-21-2001, 11:39 AM
BTW, I predict that Tony will sign an extension that puts his earnings somewhere between the Top TE, and an average WR (not equivelent to).

just the way i see it...

07-21-2001, 01:01 PM

Again, I can see what you predict playing out exactly as you describe. I hope, like you, that it doesn't happen. I hope that CP forgoes his usual MO and makes a good solid contract offer to TG soon, not some disrespectful lowballing offer as he is wont to do. This would convince TG that we want him here, and hopefully he'll be loyal and excited enough about remaining a Chief that negotiations will progress rapidly. Again, I think he deserves big money, and going into the negotiations with that mindset (rather than resorting to the tags) can only speed things up IMO.

07-21-2001, 01:50 PM

Our only difference (that I can see) is in what you might call 'lowballing'.

Carl has a fudiciary responsibility to Lamar, this team, and the rest of the League NOT to blow the roof off of positional salaries. Negotiations should start in the top ranges of TEs (as is just), but to immediately offer WR type compensation would be irresponsible and insane ~ not to mention that it would hurt our team (and others) by dramatically raising the bar on positional salaries.

I would bet money that this is exactly where Carl will start the negotiating ~ and would double the bet on the fact that the Press will castigate Carl for it. The sad thing is that many naive fans will support the Press' manipulations rather than out team.

fans should NEVER react to negotiations ~ just the outcome...

07-21-2001, 03:57 PM
Gonzalez has no leverage. He is a TE, the best in the league, but he is still just a TE.

My advice would be to hold out. After all, Dan Williams held out, and was rewarded with a contract that is triple what he is worth.

keg in kc
07-21-2001, 04:04 PM
Luz, maybe I should have worded it better, but the contract I listed should be what we're aiming for, not what we would start the negotiations with. That means we do, obviously, start lower and then negotiate, but from a fiscal standpoint I think this contract is entirely responsible as well as justifiable. It's directly between the top tight end contracts (3+ mil/year) and the top wide receiver contracts (although that number isn't set in stone until Randy Moss re-signs with Minnesota next year - he's asking for 100 million...). I believe this contract also compares favorably to Will Shields' 6 year contract worth $24.2 million including a $7 million signing bonus. Gonzo is a highly-valued skill player in our offense, and (you can't forget this) the most nationally-recognized "face" in the franchise. $30 million over 6 years is not too much to pay for that in my humble opinion (and he may well want more...). He is, literally, the "star" of this team, and no other TE, not Sharpe, Wycheck or Dilger, can even pretend that's the case for them, and to hold him to their standard is a mistake.

Remember, though, all of this is assuming he has another 1000+ yard, 10 touchdown season. If he doesn't reach that level, then some of the luster will have fallen.

Assuming success, I think we should avoid the franchise tag at all costs, and make every effort not to have ugly protracted contract talks in 2003. I think the best move that Carl could make in terms of garnering public support for the team beyond what they've accomplished so far this offseason (although the season will be the true gauge...) is to sign Tony to a long term deal next offseason.

Here's how the contract might break down (based on Will Shield's contract (http://nflpa.org/members/playerProfile.asp?ID=19693)):

30 million over 6 years including an 8 million bonus

year 1: 5 year Vet minimum (I think we'll be under a new plan that Upshaw just signed), probably @500K, possibly less + 1.33 mil bonus
year 2: 2 mil + 1.33 mil bonus
year 3 3.5 mil + 1.33 mil bonus
year 4: 4.5 mil + 1.33 mil bonus.
year 5: 5.5 mil + 1.33 mil bonus.
year 6: 6 mil + 1.33 mil bonus.

If you don't like that, go for the gusto and try to sign him to a 7-10 year deal, but drop the yearly average down to 4 or 4.5 million. Say Gonzo signs for 10 years with a 45 million dollar contract includung a 12 million dollar bonus. More risk, but less pain later on.

I'm not saying ridiculously overpay, I'm saying pay him enough to keep him here. If we don't do it, and he has another HoF type season or two, someone else certainly will...

07-21-2001, 04:58 PM

You may have a better handle on the specific contract numbers around the League than I do (I'm sure you do). I also realize that there are countless ways to write a contract so that it seems as if it's something it's not.

May main concern is that Tony is a TE. He is everything else you mentioned also, but he is still a TE. The NFLPA has negotiated contracts with the NFL based on the concept that different positions have different values. They have even agreed on the heirachy of values relative to each position.

I do not object to Tony being the highest paid TE in the game. I want to keep him happy in KC as much as the next guy. I do object to to comparing him in any way shape or form to a WR.

This is assuradly the tactic the Press will use to belittle Carl in the negotiations and may very well be the tactic his agent wants to use. The fact is, however, that it was the NFLPA that insisted on these designations and they need to live with them.

Managing teams with a finite amount of pie to split up has to be the most challenging job in all of sports. It is a task and a burden that receives very little respect from the average fan and no respect from the media.

If Tony ends up making the kind of money you're talking about and we sign him to a long term deal that he's happy with, I will be happy also. However, I will never accept as an argument that what WRs make has (or should have) anything to do with it. It is invalid and irrelevant.

unfortunately, the press will take huge advantage of the general publics lack of knowledge on the NFLPA's Players Agreement...

07-21-2001, 05:01 PM
BTW Kyle,

I think this is a tremendous post and your arguments are very well thought out and presented.

If my responses seem disjointed or erratic (or Heavan forbid, disrespectful) please excuse me. I am juggling several things today, but still wanted to take part!

enjoying this :) ...

keg in kc
07-21-2001, 05:08 PM
That's a legitimate argument.

If you want, throw out the Moulds comparison and realize that the contract is paying him what his market value should be (after another All-Pro performance...):

1) Kyle Brady (unproven player) got, essentially, a 3 mil/year deal in 1999, with a 4 mil signing bonus.

2) Dilger, another "best TE" candidate got a 3 mil/year deal in 2000. Gonzo's numbers are roughly double that of Dilger's best years (I like Dilger, btw, I think he's a more complete TE than Tony, who still needs to develop consistency in his hands as well as his blocking skills - that's not saying Tony isn't the "best" though)

3) Sharpe, a 32 year old vet with declining skills got a deal for more than 3 mil/year, despite playing in only 5 games the year prior to his contract due to his broken collarbone.

I think, if you want to leave WRs out of it, which is valid in order to not cloud the discussion, that paying Tony 4-5 million/year is clearly justifiable.

These arguments, of course, favor Tony's standpoint. You could also, obviously, just argue the converse and say "well, he's just a TE and they get 3 mil/year". Invoke the franchise tag and then get two first round picks because you know another team, San Francisco or Oakland in all likelihood, is going to pay him that money.

I'd go ahead and get the deal done. Like I said, I think that's the wiser move from both a PR standpoint and a success standpoint.

Others disagree, obviously.
Should be interesting to watch...

keg in kc
07-21-2001, 05:18 PM
Okay, I just dug up a little bit more pertinent information:

1) Brady was a 1st round draft pick in 1995, so that explains his 3 mil/year contract.

2) Dilger was a 2nd round draft pick.

3) Wycheck was a 6th round draft pick.

4) Sharpe was a 7th round draft pick.

So, basically, another argument that could be made is this: if a 1st round draft pick who has done virtually nothing in the league and a 2nd round draft pick are worth 3 mil/year, how much is a first round draft pick who is a three-time All-Pro (assuming he's in Hawaii next February....) and the best TE in the game.

Might be more important if we're talking trade or draft pick compensation (could be an issue), but I think it's still a part of his overall value.

I'm glad I'm not a GM or an agent. :confused:

Chiefs Pantalones
07-21-2001, 06:04 PM
I think Tony deserves something like...

7yrs 42mil and a 8.5million signing bonus.


wants to keep Gonzalez a Chief...a happy Chief

07-22-2001, 08:19 AM

Sorry about the late reply. I appreciate your POV but I must respectfully disagree with one aspect..........that TEs should have a certain value because they are TEs. The position is certainly unfashionable and is even redundant on several teams. But that doesn't change the fact that Tony is clearly the star of this team, on the field and off (as Kyle said). He gives this team an identity and is an invaluable asset to the franchise both with his athletic prowess as well as fiscally (jersey sales and so on) even if he doesn't play a sexy position. The fact that he happens to be a TE (IMHO) is irrelevant, and the only thing I am scared about in upcoming negotiations is that CP will stubbornly restrict him to TE-type salaries. He is so much better than other TEs in the league, and frequently lines up as a WR that I think WR money, along the lines of what Kyle suggests is justified.

JMHO :cool:

~did I say sexy position ;) :D

07-22-2001, 09:41 AM

That's not my POV, that's the NFLPA's POV.

Their labor contract is the standard that all contracts are negotiated by.

What would happen if Jerry Jones in Dallas said that the Cowboys were enough of a star that they really didn't need to abide by the NFLPA Labor Agreement?

No team can do that ~ and no player can do that

Carl is going to be accused of trying to lowball Gonzales, when all he'll be doing is following the Labor Agreement.

everyone needs to play by the rules...

07-22-2001, 10:10 AM

I wasn't aware that those guidelines are set in stone. I just thought that as TEs normally don't contribute that much (statistically) to the team that they tended to be paid less, not that they didn't qualify for higher salaries. In any case, it seems to me that you should be able to pay whomever you want, however much you want as long as you are under the cap :confused:. Oh well, my bad.

07-22-2001, 10:27 AM

It's not your bad :D

They are not set in stone. That's what makes this so complicated.

I have enough faith in our team management to believe that we will end up with Gonzales signed to a long term contract that makes all sides happy. I have no idea how much actual cap space this will require us to dedicate to him.

I am simply suggesting (ok, strongly suggesting) that comparing him to a WR for purposes of negotiating a contract is not appropriate.

People whose business it is to work daily with NFLPA guidlined contracts will know this ~ as will the Press. What rankles me, is that the Press will use this to criticize our team anyway ~ and that many fans will fall for it.

The whole issue boils down to: At what price does Carl start the negotiating? My guess is he will start it as a top TE in the NFL ~ and that the Press will scream 'lowball' because it doesn't compare favorably with many WRs.

In other words, the Whitlocks of the world are going to try and set us (the fans) up again to manipulate for their purposes.

I hope I'm wrong and that this never becomes an issue, but if it does, just remember that the Press has an agenda that has nothing to do with what's right ~ or what's in the best interest of the team.

hoping this never comes about...