Eagle’s Trade Possibility: Tony Gonzalez

6 10 2008

by Michael DeLuca

Update:  I will have continuous trade deadline updates here

You rarely see in-season trades in the National Football League. One of the main reasons is that the league imposes such an early deadline in comparison to the other major sports. This year, the deadline is October 14th. Despite that, this trend may be about to change as after just 5 weeks of this year’s season it has become fairly clear who the have and have nots may be.  The most likely situation for a trade is probably in Detroit, where Matt Millen has already been fired and replaced with Tom Lewand. Lewand would be wise to make some changes that could be viewed as having a positive effect on the franchise if he hopes to retain the job beyond the 2008 season. WR, Roy Williams, who is already rumored to be on the market, is the most likely trade chip for the Lions.

Another team that is clearly in rebuilding mode is the Kansas City Chiefs, who at 1-4 have absolutely no shot of competing for anything but the #1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. They were blown out 34-0 this weekend in Carolina and have been lifeless in all but 1 game, a week four 33-19 home victory over the Denver Broncos. Many are speculating that it may be time to trade RB Larry Johnson, but it is TE Tony Gonzalez that I see as being the more likely trade candidate for the Chiefs.

On Sunday, Gonzalez set yet another record for tight ends, this time setting the record for most receiving yards in a career.  It came in an away game, in which (as previously mentioned) the Chiefs were blown out 34-0. The accomplishment received little fan fare and occured before an indifferent smattering of Panthers’ fans.  “That was the worst I have been involved with in my career,” Gonzalez was quoted as saying after the game. “It seemed like every time we did anything, they had an answer for it. You’d think we’d be able to go out there and put something together, at least one drive.” Regarding the record, Gonzalez said “It’s bittersweet, I’m happy for it, don’t get me wrong. It took a long time to get that, and I have been very fortunate to be around some good offensive coordinators and great quarterbacks, too. It’s been a long time, and I’ve been very fortunate to have lasted that long. I’m going to take it in stride. I just wish it could have come in a different circumstance. It would have been a lot better. It takes a little bit off the record. That’s now, though. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll feel better about it.”

Gonzalez is in his 12th season and is 32 years of age. He’s still one of the best in the game at his position. Asked just several weeks ago by NFL Network’s Adam Shefter if he could envision himself asking for a trade out of Kansas City, Gonzalez responded, “Yeah. I definitely could, but I love being a Chief, but if it was something where it was going to take three or four years or whatever before they get this thing right, I think it would be in their best interest to maybe see what they can get and send me off.”

The next logical question would be, “Where then, is the most logical trade destination for Tony Gonzalez.”  My answer is, the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Eagles offense has been stagnant for three consecutive weeks now, inclduing defeats to both the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins in the past two weeks.  In addition, the Eagles failed to convert from the goal line in each of those games.  The 6’5 Gonzalez would certainly help in the red zone and be a welcome target for quarterback Donovan McNabb in this team’s West Coast Offense; An offense in which the tight end position is an integral component and that the Birds have been lacking.  The most successful versions of this offense were the San Francisco 49ers offense that featured four time Pro-Bowler Brent Jones and the Green Bay Packers offense that featured 3 time Pro Bowler Mark Chmura.

The current Eagles tight end, LJ Smith is no Jones or Chmura.  He has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, including a current back issue that has already kept him out of two games this season.  Smith is known to drop a lot of passes and is only an average run blocking tight end at best.  His best season included 61 receptions for 682 yards and 3 touchdowns, and that was four full seasons ago.  The Eagles placed the franchise tag on Smith this past offseason, largely because there were no decent options available at the position on the free agent market. 

What might the asking price for Gonzalez be?  Probably not much.  A fourth rounder would probably get the job done.  As I had mentioned, he is 32 years old.  In addition, he is a high character guy who has epitomized every positive attribute a team could ask for as far as representation of both team and city.  In fact, as Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com pointed out recently regarding the possibility of the Chiefs trading Gonzalez to a playoff contender,  “It would be a nice gesture, given that Gonzalez has yet to win a playoff game.”  We can debate at another time whether we believe the Eagles are in fact a playoff contender, but at the very least, with Gonzalez, they’d be that much closer.

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