The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns 23-17 on Sunday. The Chiefs didn’t play especially well, but were still able to hold off a mediocre team, lead by a below average QB and win by six points in Arrowhead. It was a “meh” performance against a “meh” team. While every win counts the same in the win column, this game did nothing to silence the doubters out there that think the Chiefs’ undefeated record is more the product of an easy schedule than an elite team.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons dropped to an incredibly disappointing 2-5 on the season. This is a team that was the #1 seed in the NFC last season. This team was one win away from playing in a Super Bowl. They were so close last season, that despite his intent to retire, Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez was talked into coming back for one more chance at a Super Bowl. Now their season appears to be over.
Tuesday is the NFL trade deadline.
Do I need to connect the dots any more than that?
There is simply NO good reason for this trade not to happen. Here’s why:
1. The Chiefs Need Gonzalez
The Chiefs offense isn’t bad, it’s average. They are 16th in the NFL in yards per game and 13th in the NFL in points per game. For all the grief that the offense has taken you’d think they were at the bottom of the league. If they are average without Gonzalez, he could be the piece that put’s them over the top. Alex Smith loves to throw safe passes to the TE. Vernon Davis was his run away favorite target in San Francisco. Andy Reid’s West Coast Offense features the TE, that’s why they signed Anthony Fasano and spent a high draft pick on Travis Kelce. With Kelce injured, they could easily fit Gonzalez into the TE rotation. While Fasano is a nice safety valve and Sean McGrath has been a solid find, neither of them are players that defenses have to game plan for. Gonzalez would take some attention away from Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe and allow them more freedom to make plays.
2. The Falcons Don’t Have Anything To Gain From Keeping Gonzalez
The Falcons are done. Some will say they still have nine games to go and anything can happen, but if you look at their remaining schedule there are just too many tough games remaining. The Falcons still have to play Carolina twice, the Seahawks, the Saints, the Packers, and the 49ers. That’s six challenging games remaining for a team with a bad defense, bad offensive line, and injured skill position players. Even if they split those six games (unlikely), just those three loses would give them eight on the season. 8-8 isn’t making the playoffs in the NFC. Gonzalez isn’t coming back for another season. Of course the Falcons have said they aren’t trading Gonzalez. Of course Gonzalez has said he doesn’t want to go anywhere. What else are they going to say? Atlanta actually has an intriguing rookie TE that they could give extended playing time with Gonzalez gone in Levine Toilolo. The 6’8″ 265 lbs rookie from Stanford already has 2 TDs in limited playing time this season. They also have another pass catching option at TE in former Mizzou TE Chase Coffman. At this point, the Falcons are playing for next year and Gonzalez will not be there next year. The players that would get playing time in his absence will be. So will the player that they would draft with the pick they acquire for Gonzalez.
3. The Price Tag For Gonzalez Will Not Be Too High
I understand that KC shouldn’t sell the farm to get a 37 year old TE for 8 games. Atlanta knows that. They aren’t going to ask for a 3rd rounder for a player that is retiring from the NFL in 8 games. I truly believe that Gonzalez could be had for a 6th round draft pick, 5th rounder tops. The Chiefs drafted a FB that didn’t even make the roster in the 6th round this year. Late round draft picks are crap shoots. Gonzalez is a proven commodity.
4. Salary Cap Space Can Be Found
I’ve heard a lot of people say this trade can’t happen because KC doesn’t have the cap space. I’ll admit that I’m not an expert “capoligist”, but it seems to me this could be resolved by cutting ties with Dunta Robinson. I like Dunta. He seems to have a good attitude and work ethic, but with the rise of Marcus Cooper I don’t see anyway they keep Robinson and his salary around next season. I know it will cost KC some dead money, but if he’s going to be gone next season anyway, I’d rather have 8 games of Tony Gonzalez than 8 games of Dunta Robinson cheering on Marcus Cooper from the sidelines.
5. The Timing Is Right
The Chiefs head to Buffalo next week and could work in a handful of plays to get Gonzalez a little action while Fasano and McGrath continue to get most of the snaps. Then KC has their bye week which is the absolute PERFECT time to get Gonzalez up to speed. Gonzalez has been around for SO long that I guarantee there isn’t anything in Reid’s playbook that he hasn’t seen before. He just needs to get on the same page with the terminology. After the bye week the Chiefs have their biggest game of the year to that point when they go to Denver. How perfect would it be for Denver to have to game plan for Gonzalez when they haven’t had a chance to see how KC is going to use him yet? Denver’s defense has struggled already and having to defend Charles, Bowe, and Gonzalez should give them fits.
6. Seasons Like This Don’t Come Along Very Often
As much as we all like to think that this season is just the beginning of many winning years in the Andy Reid / John Dorsey era, there simply aren’t any guarantees that the Chiefs will be in this good of position again. The Chiefs are on pace for the #1 seed and homefield advantage in the playoffs. Easy schedule or not, the Chiefs need to do EVERYTHING in their power to capitalize on this opportunity. KC has found ways to win and that is commendable, but they must continue to find ways to improve if they want to win a Super Bowl. Gonzalez makes them better. No 8-0 team should be focused solely on the future. An 8-0 team should be focused on trying to win it all.
7. It’s Just Too Poetic To Pass Up
Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end to ever play the game. He spent the bulk of his career in Kansas City. There are still hundreds of 88 jerseys at Arrowhead every Sunday. Yes, he decided he didn’t want to deal with Scott Pioli and Todd Haley. Based on what we now know, can you blame him for wanting to go to a contender instead of dealing with those two? I know some KC fans are still holding a grudge, but I have a hard time believing that if 88 came running out of the tunnel back in KC red and gold that there would be a single fan in Arrowhead that wouldn’t go nuts. Anyone want to actually say that if Tony Gonzalez was dunking that ball over the goalpost after a TD against the Broncos, you would say “I still don’t forgive him for leaving!” This is the ultimate hollywood ending. Gonzalez returning to the team he played with for years to make one last Super Bowl run, what could be better than that?
Pick up the phone John Dorsey. Get this done. There just is no reason for it not to. KC players have actually gone on record saying that they’d love to have him back. This is a special team having a special season and bringing in Tony Gonzalez could be the thing that puts this team over the top. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by Mr. Dorsey.
Bring Tony G Back Home To KC Where He Belongs!
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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