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One Trade Deadline Deal That Potentially Makes Sense: Packers Acquiring Tony Gonzalez

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One Trade Deadline Deal That Potentially Makes Sense: Packers Acquiring Tony Gonzalez

Our Zach Kruse makes a thoughtful observation on the occasion of the NFL's trade deadline on Tuesday:

There's hundreds of other unrealistic trade possibilities that you can poke holes in for one reason or another, such as the Packers going after Bills safety Jarius Byrd (franchise tag) or Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (contract and off-field issues).

But unlike the ludicrous suggestion that the Packers could trade a king's ransom for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in return for Jordy Nelson, Johnathan Franklin and a second round draft pick (shame on you, ESPN), this suggestion has some merit.

Now, let's pump the brakes for a second and realize, this is Ted Thompson we're talking about. If the asking price for Gonzalez for too high, the Packers simply don't pull the trigger.

But if, by chance, the Packers and Falcons could work out some sort of deal that would be equitable for both parties, this isn't out of the realm of possibility.

With the Falcons sitting at 2-5 and on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, it might be in their franchise's best interests to part ways with a player who insists he's retiring after the 2013 season and looking for an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl one last time.

Certainly, the Packers won't get something for nothing. But might a mid-round draft choice be too steep for a player that can help stabilize the tight end position after losing Jermichael Finley to a serious neck injury just over a week ago?

Nothing is official regarding Finley's future. The Packers have yet to determine if or when he's likely to play again, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him land on season ending injured reserve.

Thompson once flirted with attempting to trade for Gonzalez from the Chiefs back in 2008, but per usual, Thompson refused to pay a price he deemed too costly, similar to Marshawn Lynch in 2010.

Trading for Gonzalez now would be akin to the Packers trading for an aging Keith Jackson, such as they did midseason in 1995. While his best days were behind him, Jackson still spent two productive years in Green Bay, helping them qualify for two Super Bowls and winning one.

The Packers would appear to have competition for Gonzalez this time around, with his former team in Kansas City rumored to be involved. The Chiefs are undefeated and looking for the missing piece in what they're hoping will be a run at the Super Bowl.

Unlike other teams in the NFL, the Packers have the salary-cap space (roughly $10 million) to make a deal, if they so desire. Acquiring Gonzalez now would cost the Packers roughly half $5.25 million cap hit in 2013.

One factor to take into account, however, is that the money used to pay Gonzalez couldn't go toward extending one of the Packers' upcoming free agents such as cornerback Sam Shields or defensive lineman B.J. Raji, although Gonzalez's modest contract isn't exactly cost prohibitive.

So far this season Gonzalez has 38 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns.

The trade deadline is at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (68) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I think this would be the only realistic trade that Thompson would consider. And I don't see it realistically happening.

That being said, I think the only way Thompson would consider it is if the cost was a 6th round or 7th round draft pick. I don't even think he would do it for a 6th round honestly.

I would do it for a 6th round pick because they would be able to get that back maneuvering around in the draft.

hayward4president's picture

If it risks us losing Sammy....shut the front door.

Drealyn Williams's picture

Damn,you beat me to it...

jeremy's picture

Ted Thompson working out a deal with Drew Rosenhaus sounds like the highest of unlikelihoods. Those two are matter and antimatter.

Stroh's picture

First Thompson doesn't do the negotiating. Second the Packers have had other Rosenhaus clients and they've signed them if they wanted to stay in GB. The chances of the Packers letting a young ascending star leave GB are slim and none! You apparently haven't been paying attention to the way the Packers handle young core players.

Drealyn Williams's picture

"One factor to take into account, however, is that the money used to pay Gonzalez couldn't go toward extending one of the Packers’ upcoming free agents..." Welp,that's that!

Josh Premo's picture

It's not gonna happen. Thompson would never sell out on the future. not even a mid - late round pick for a half season from a soon to be retired player.

Longshanks's picture

No!! No!! No!! Quarless is just fine. We won a super bowl with him as a rookie without Finley and no running game. Quarless is 4 years older and we now have one of the best running games in the NFL. According to Bob McGinn who analyzed the plays, Quarless was damn good the entire game with run blocking.

Gonzalez brings nothing to the table anymore except being more costly. We're actually playing much better with less "superstars" in the passing game as Paul Ott Carruth noted yesterday. Having Gonzalez here would only force Rodgers to get him the ball or at least have it on his mind like when Sterling Sharpe and Brett Favre played together. We have no disruptions, just guys that are hungry to win. Keep the train rolling as is I say!!

Longshanks

THEMichaelRose's picture

Rodgers would not feel "forced" to give him the ball. And I'm pretty sure Tony Gonzalez is hungry to win. He's accomplished a ton, except one key thing.

He'd be a great addition. At a low draft choice it could be interesting. Also, Atlanta won't get a compensatory pick for him if he retires. So it's not as if there's a default "price" to meet. Could come down to what Tony wants, as Atlanta probably will respect his wishes.

All that said, I doubt Ted/Mike are that interested.

Longshanks's picture

Are you sure about that? It sounds to me as though Tony Gonzalez was more hungry to retire than "win". No way is Teddy Tee giving up ANY draft pick for an almost 40 year old guy who's past his prime for less than 8 games. Draft and develop this team is. Not a Mike Sherman give away draft picks and trade for players that don't pan out.

Teddy Tee is the master of the draft. Any draft pick that he gives away could be the next Tony Gonzalez. I think after how many years with Ted as our GM that we should clearly know by now how he operates but still we put this trade stuff out there for discussion.

It's simply fun to talk trade but not going to happen. My favorite all time trade was when GB traded for John Jefferson. I thought at the time wow!! Jefferson, Lofton and Coffman.. super bowl, here we come!! lol

Longshanks

gslumbers's picture

Agreed. TT has his rep. due to his "vision". It's fun to kick the tires on these trades, but vision only works with a diciplined approach. TT has that in spades. No way will he jepardize our Defenses future by potentially eroding the chances of keeping 37. Defense wins superbowls!!!. That is one thing I've learned the past 3 years. I will admit though, that a few ARod to Gonzo TD's would be cool.

whaler92's picture

It won't and shouldn't happen, who knows what that late round pick might be next year, Davon House, Micah Hyde David Bakhtiari, Donald Driver?

I'd rather see that salary cap room used on one or two of the current stars than messing around trading for a player for just half a season.

hayward4president's picture

I know it isn't gonna happen...but the player we NEED is Byrd. I couldnt imagine our defense with two solid safeties.........Damnit I miss Nick Collins:(

Longshanks's picture

I agree Hayward. If there's any weak spot on this team it's the safety opposite Burnett. Maybe it's Richardson but it's not anyone currently on the active roster. If we could just shore that up with an upgrade we'd be set. Is Eugene Robinson still available?

If we are going to win a super bowl it will be because our defense continuing to get better not adding Tony Gonzalez. Are our safetys and the rest of our defense good enough to beat Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Kaeperdick? That's how I am looking at this. Jennings, McMillion, Banjo are just guys at this point. Byrd would definately shore that up like Robinson did for one year in 1996.

Longshanks

Mojo's picture

The Byrd trade will never happen. He's a franchised FA this year. With all the other FA signings in-house the Packers are considering, there's no way they go after Byrd. Plus the Bills are looking for a front-line player in return.

Gonzalez makes sense if he were willing, and I think he would be, but I think the bidding war will get to high for TT. He'll pass. Can't imagine the Falcons conceding their season at 2-5. They probably look at themselves as SB contenders, even with the record.

Steven's picture

Horrible idea longshanks. He wants to be the best payed safety in the league. And we would have to give alot. Safety isnt hurtinf us to bad.

Longshanks's picture

Yeah, your probably right Steven. Safety and right tackle are our weak links but safety is the worst of all. Teddy won't trade unless is absolutely critical need. Byrd would be an upgrade but never thought of the financial implications and they are too much. My guess is he probably wants to take Richardson for a spin before seasons end. Who knows, maybe he strikes gold like Shields. He certainly looks the part that's for damn sure.

Longshanks

ben's picture

Sean Richardson will make a run at starting opposite Burnett. But Casey Hayward may be our best option there.

Stroh's picture

Hayward is way to valuable as a CB to waste as a safety. If a CB is moved to safety it would be Hyde before Hayward!

zub's picture

6th or 7th round pick for a player to play only half a season and then the playoffs, Atlanta begged him to come back this season and not retire

No chance this happens

DraftHobbyist's picture

From what Gonzalez has said, he does not want to be traded. So consider if Atlanta traded him after begging him to come back for one more year. Now he and his entire family has to move for half of a year when he retires, and then because he will likely feel no ties to Green Bay, he will have to move again to settle wherever he wants to settle (maybe back in Atlanta). That would be pretty classless by Atlanta if you ask me. And all of this for a Day 3 pick? If Gonzalez was on board with it then I could see it more.

If you look at it from the Packer perspective, we'd be giving up a draft pick for a guy for half a year. It's not out of the question, but isn't Finley supposed to be coming back? I thought the timetable on him was 4-6 weeks and that was last week, so now it should be 3-5 weeks. Granted, I wouldn't mind having Gonzo and Finley. There are lots of TE's out there, though, so if a trade was made for a TE it would probably be for a name that hasn't been mentioned. One of those Jared Cook type of guys that can be solid but isn't going to blow anybody away.

Evan's picture

I doubt he'd move his entire family just for 3 months of the seasons - they'd probably stay in Atlanta and he'd rent an apartment or something in GB.

As for Finley, his status is still very much up in the air. Personally I'd be surprised if he played again this year.

But, yeah, this will never happen.

Derek in CO's picture

I hope Finley plays too, but I really think he's done for the year and likely career.

DraftHobbyist's picture

Finley has said he's not done. He didn't need surgery and he basically has some swelling from what I heard, so after that swelling goes down he should be fine, right? Unless there is more to this that hasn't been reported.

redlights's picture

Yes, I doubt Finley plays again this year.

Forget what everyone is saying. Everything being said is the "right things". Finley has no contract after this year, if he does come back, GB will likely be the highest bidder; and will be where he is the most productive. So he certainly doesn't want to diss GB. GB is being silent so if he is forced to retire, GB will be seen as supportive; if he doesn't want to retire, GB will want a incentive-laden contract; etc. Isn't this how it worked with Collins?

I could see a 6th for Tony G; but don't think it will happen. Not with an in conference rival. ATL is telling Ryan to watch how ARodg is making hay with mostly nobodies (for now). Earn your paycheck!

Derek in CO's picture

No way TT makes a trade, he won't even sign Free Agents. Having said that, maybe Tramon for Tony Gonzalez?

Ebongreen's picture

I see the appeal, but I'd have a lot of questions.

For McCarthy and the coaches: Is Gonzales a scheme fit? Does he know the offense, or can he learn it quickly enough?

For T-Gon: Would you be willing to take a salary cut to work with AR and this team for the remainder of this year?

For Dimi: What's your price tag?

If either of the first two don't happen, I imagine the third won't.

DraftHobbyist's picture

About Byrd since you brought him up, I don't think a trade for Byrd would really be that unrealistic. Your main argument that you cited was that he's franchised, so I'm assuming you're talking money. He's set to be paid just under $7 million, so half of that would be just under $3.5 million for the rest of this year, and because we had our Bye and Buffalo didn't, we would actually get a free game out of him. He would come at the cost of a higher draft pick, most likely a 2nd rounder, but then the Packers would gain a 2x All Pro at their weakest position, which also happens to be a pretty cheap position to pay.

We could maybe sign Byrd for something like $7-$8 million per year. Now would that hurt us a bit in signing other players? It would. Tramon Williams would likely have to go. If Finley wants any kind of money we'd have to let him go. But these are guys that I think we can let go, and is there any other position you can think of that would improve this team more than upgrading the Safety position? Not me. So I don't think a Byrd trade is unrealistic at all.

And from a Buffalo perspective, I'm assuming they don't want to pay him, or he doesn't want to be there. A deal would've been worked out otherwise. Now they will have to pay even more to franchise him again, and lets just say they have a history of not paying players. So they could get rid of a disgruntled player and get a significant draft pick in return. Who knows, maybe the Packers would even offer up a 1st instead of a 2nd.

Archie's picture

TE for CLE makes more sense:

(1) has low salary; and,
(2) is very young.

This is the type of player we could only hope to get in the draft next year. Using the pick on a guy who has already proven he can play in this league makes great sense.

I agree with sentiment that GB's greatest need is a S ala Nick Collins. Sean Richardson intrigues me but odds are, we will have to find that guy in the draft with a premium pick.

denniseckersly's picture

Jordan Cameron would be awesome. I Imagine he'd be pretty expensive though

MarkinMadison's picture

$2.125M for the rest of the year is not going to be the difference between signing Sam Shields or not. Quarless caught two passes for 13 yards against the Vikings. He was the only TE to catch a ball in that game. For the year he has a whopping 6 recs for 41 yards and zero TDs. His long for the year is 10 yards. I don't think POC was necessarily thinking about the TE position when he said the Packers are playing better without the stars. This deal probably won't happen, but it does make sense at the right price. And I don't think it will take anything more than a 6th.

Evan's picture

"Acquiring Gonzalez now would cost the Packers roughly half $5.25 million cap hit in 2013."

Where do you get $2.125 from?

MarkinMadison's picture

"half 5.25"

Sorry if I mis-read. The punctuation there could be a bit clearer. I'll modify the post this much - $5.25 million would be too much to pay for a one-year rental, unless putting Finley on IR would erase his number against the cap for this year, but I don't think the NFL works the cap that way.

Evan's picture

I somehow didn't read the "half" part...so now I'm confused. haha.

I think your initial reading is correct.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think I was wrong. I think Brian meant half of the remaining cap space for the year (10 M) not half of 5.25M. Maybe he'll clarify it later. Thanks for bearing with me. I do love this community.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I think you mean $2.625 million.

MarkinMadison's picture

OK, I clearly cannot post coherently on work breaks. :-)

jeremy's picture

I was going to ask for clarification on that on as well.

Geo's picture

Washington is supposedly really trying to trade Fred Davis. Probably would come cheaper than Gonzalez and not just be a one year "rental". Not as good as Gonzalez but with Finley's future in doubt might be worth looking into.

Pack fan from ATL's picture

Ya know what would make more sense? KC trading for him

UP-Packer's picture

Go ahead. Bypass a trade for Tony G. Save that 6th/7th round pick for another project player. (Take your pick --- C. Harris, Underwood, Guy, Elmore, Schlauderaff, Coleman, Datko, Dorsey, C. Johnson)

Just don't bitch when the Pack gets eliminated in round one by the Saints (or the Hawks/49'ers) ---- and they get little or no production from the TE position.

Evan's picture

Your post assumes that he could be had for a 6th/7th round pick...

gslumbers's picture

If we lose in the first round, it won't be attributed to a lack of scoring, but rather, a lack of preventing those scores. This team lacks 1st: a shutdown safety, 2nd O line help. That's what beats teams like the 9ers, broncs, saints, hawks and patriots...

Steven's picture

Our oline is playing awesome

gslumbers's picture

Agreed. Going deep into the playoffs/sb will test them further. Look at week 1, and our past 2yrs. in the playoffs. Depth on the O line is key. No doubt, they are playing well now though.

BartReggieDonald's picture

Tempting, but I'd rather have that extra cap space to sign some of our guys, like James Jones and B.J. Raji.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

i'm pretty surprised that:

1. this article exists
2. there is so much discussion and belief that it is a possibility.

beyond not thinking it above a 0.000064% chance given our GM is named Ted, i think the risk far outweighs the reward. essentially, we'd be giving up whomever we trade, as well as one of our current players who will reach free agency this off-season

hayward4president's picture

I would just like to say.....my son catches better than quarless and he's 3.

Wenis's picture

KGB is that you ? Don't know how you can make the claim that Gonzalez brings nothing to the table. Older or not the guy still catches everything thrown his way, can both run and pass block and as an all-time great would pick up the Packers offensive system in no time.

Lou's picture

It may be a long shot for Ted to trade for Gonzalez but prior to his moving to Atlanta there are confirmed sources that indicate he did try to trade for him multiple times before Atlanta got the deal done. If I remember correctly he even acknowledged his interest which is rare for Ted.

PackersRS's picture

Wait wait wait wait.

You can trade FOR players in the middle of the season?

denniseckersly's picture

Nothing our GM does ever makes since to me. And it always works out.

How did he know Desmond Bishop and DJ Smith were done? How did he know that Hawk, Jones, and Lattimore would give us (arguably) the best ILB play we've had during Capers' tenure?

How did he know Jarrett Boykin could replace Greg Jennings?

Steven Jackson?

Most importantly: How did he resist the urge to dump Mason Crosby?!?!?

However, his 2008 infatuation with Derrick Frost was indisputably abhorrent.

Calabasa's picture

Dereick Frost! Impressive memory!

packsmack25's picture

This might be a possibility if Jones and Cobb were out for good, but they'll be back, and we don't need a great TE to win the Super Bowl. Negative Ghost Rider.

Steven's picture

I personally dont think Fitzgerald is even worth giving up nelson. Let alone franklin and picks....opinions?!

Evan's picture

Giving up Nelson for Fitzgerald is a wash, in my opinion.

Steven's picture

Thanks for the opinion. I agree

Norman's picture

It's not a wash when you factor in contracts, which you have to do in the real world. And chemistry with QB1. Not saying Jordy is as good as Fitzgerald (only Megatron is, in my opinion) but I'll take Jordy with his current contract over Jerry Rice in his prime with Fitzgerald's contract any day.

Steven's picture

Fitzgerald is not on the level of Bryant. Hes isnt even on dez

Longshanks's picture

Agree Steven!!

Longshanks

Al's picture

I couldn't agree more. Nelson is OURS and he catches balls better than most any other receiver in the league. I would rather have him than Fitz. Plus how would that solve our problem at receiver and TE by trading 1 WR for another?

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

This was never a real option. It boils down to a myriad of factors. The first Thompson's philosophy of draft and develop. The second is paying your own. Third, making sure the key positions are locked up. Fourth, position poetentially being acquired. The tried and true formula for success in this league has been for some time now the following:
1) Solid QB play - Rodgers
2) A bonafide pass rusher - Matthews
3) Solid OT play (LT) - Bakhtiari ?
4) Shutdown corner - Shields (FA)

Two of those 4 are locked up for a while. The book is out on Bakhtiari but he has shown promise for a 4th round rookie. The biggest issue is the shutdown corner. Shields is now that guy and will receive consideration before an aging TE on the downside of his career. I believe, more than anything, Thompson is saving that cap space money right now to potentially work out a deal with Shields before season's end. Trade/FA proponents will argue we brought in Woodson. True but a big difference between him and TG. Woodson was a.....corner who could be moved to the slot and be used effectively. He had gas left in the tank. Gonzalez has none left to be the difference maker he once was. He simply doesn't tilt the field like he did and therefore the cost coupled with our need to secure our shutdown corner never made this a real consideration.

larry valdes's picture

Iwill trade for t gonzales for sure it besuperball

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

iwill too if it be superball!!! in the excites of mine!

hump's picture

love Sam Shields,but there is as much chance of resigning him,as there was,trading for Tony G. Sam and his agent drew rosenhaus are soooo far gone that its ridiculous!! we had to extend arod and clay,thats a given,but now its time to pay the piper. raji and james jones are gone too and there aint nothin any of us can do about it. sad,but thats salary cap.TT will prbly keep pullin stuff out of his ass,but not sure if its good enough for a championship,but we will compete for a long time yet. KEEP CALM CARRY ON

pete's picture

Packers will sign Raji and franchise Shields if deal cannot be worked out.

hump's picture

AND...Great point Zach,it would certainly make sense for ted to call dimitroff,but as ive pointed out on numerous occasions,Ted is gung ho on winning a champioship with all 53 players drafted by him or signed as street free agents that have never played a down for another team. He now has 50, 3 MORE TO GO!!! Interesting note, Al michaels actually brought up this fact sunday night,that ive been preaching before the draft: pickett, kuhn and wallace are the only 3 from our roster,to ever play a snap for anyone else. And tell Nagler that Tony Gonzalez said he would gladly play for someone other than ATL!!

Al's picture

Didn't TG already say he's "for sure" retiring after this season? Why would we want to trade for that? I'll pass. I would rather keep giving Quarless a ton of snaps and use the rest of this season to see if he has a future with this team as more than a blocker. This should be his make or break year.

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