The addition of tight end Tony Gonzalez gives quarterback Matt Ryan another solid target to complement Michael Turner and Roddy White on the Falcons offense, which ranked sixth overall last season.
Gonzalez, who’s entering the third year of a five-year, $35 million contract extension that he signed with the Chiefs in 2007, will cost the Falcons $6.5 million in 2009, $7 million in 2010 and $8.25 million in 2011 under the salary cap.
Gonzalez, 33, caught 96 passes for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for Kansas City. The future Hall of Famer owns NFL career records for tight ends with receptions (916), yards receiving (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76) and 100-yard receiving games (26).
When his time is over in Atlanta, how will his time in a Falcons jersey compare to others who’ve donned the Red and Black?
Jim Mitchell spent 11 seasons in Atlanta from 1969-1979. The two-time Pro Bowl tight end played in 155 games with 305 receptions for 4,358 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns.
Junior Miller was the 7th overall pick of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Falcons. Miller played four seasons in Atlanta, and was a member of the 1980 squad that had a club-record 12 wins and won the NFC Western Division title. He led the team in touchdown receptions that season with nine. The two-time Pro Bowl tight end had 1,328 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns as a Falcon.
Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt began his playing career with Atlanta in 1985. He lined up for the Falcons in 55 games, notching 56 receptions for 551 yards and five touchdowns.
A member of the 1998 NFC title team, O.J. Santiago had 819 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons in Atlanta.
Brian Kozlowski played for seven seasons in Atlanta. Alongside Santiago for three of those years he had 891 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He went to Super Bowl XXXIII with the team and caught one pass for five yards.
In 108 games as a Falcon, Alge Crumpler had 316 receptions for 4,212 yards and 35 touchdowns. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All Pro while in Atlanta.
Where do you think Gonzalez will fall in this crowd? Or will he surpass them all?