Things are not looking good in Atlanta, where they are now 1-4 and well behind undefeated New Orleans for first place in the NFC South. On top of that, the Falcons still have games left against Seattle, New Orleans, Green Bay, and San Francisco. Considering they can’t even beat the Jets maybe losses to teams like Buffalo and Washington are not out of the question either.
Atlanta’s misfortunes have led some Kansas City fans to wonder if Tony Gonzalez may be available in a trade. The match up makes sense given the lack of weapons in the Chiefs passing offense and the injuries to Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce, and Tony Moeaki. Gonzalez could be a significant part of a playoff push for the Chiefs.
Here’s the problem: It’s not happening.
Everything begins and ends with money. Gonzalez is owed $14 million in a two-year deal, but the second year is for accounting purposes and not because the future Hall of Famer plans to play another year. All of this comes down to a cap number of about $5.25 million.
So what would the Chiefs have to do to open that space? Cut someone. It would have to be a significant cut. Kansas City would need around $3 million available to sign a free agent should there be an injury. Also, KC would need some space to sign someone to replace the player or players they cut.
This means general manager John Dorsey would have to clear out about $5 million in cap space in order obtain Gonzalez’ contract. Who would the Chiefs have to cut open up that kind of space? There are only two options:
Those are the only two players the Chiefs could cut that would open up enough cap space without cutting five or six medium salary players. Cutting either of those players would be dumb.
There is another option the Chiefs to obtain Gonzalez. The scenario would involve Atlanta cutting Gonzalez, Gonzalez clearing waivers, and then KC signing Gonzalez to a free agent contract that would be cap friendly. Not only is Gonzalez not getting cut or clearing waivers, he may also choose not to sign with the Chiefs.
There are two reasons why Gonzalez may not want to sign with Kansas City.
One, Gonzalez may choose to play for a team with a better shot at making the Super Bowl. Let’s take off our Chiefs-colored glasses here and acknowledge that a team like Denver has a better shot to make the Super Bowl than the Chiefs. Adding Gonzalez to that roster for the league minimum would virtually be a free Super Bowl ring for Denver and Gonzalez.
Two, Gonzalez may not want to play for Kansas City. He did leave on unwelcome terms with the Chiefs organization, which could mean he doesn’t want to return. Some cuts are just too deep to heal.
It is always possible there can be some manipulation of the cap by restructuring more contracts, making a minor cut, and getting a little help from Atlanta. This is to say it is not impossible for a trade to happen, but the odds are heavily against a deal happening because there are so many moving parts.
There is nothing wrong with dreaming and hoping it will get done. However, reality is less kind in this situation.