Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) celebrates a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter of the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Gonzalez was going to retire, especially considering some of the things he said after the Falcons’ heartbreaking loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. As irony would have it, however, it looks like being that close to tasting a Super Bowl is what led to Gonzalez change his mind.
Gonzalez announced his return earlier this afternoon, and addressed Falcons Nation soon after via Twitter:
“I’m happy to say that after speaking with my family, I’m coming back.” wrote Gonzalez. “The lure of being on such a great team and organization, along with unbelievable fan support was too good to pass up. We have a great shot to get to the Super Bowl, RISE UP ATLANTA!”
This is a huge lift to an Atlanta team that has been forced to let go of a few key pieces from a season ago. They will already be without sack leader John Abraham and starting defensive back Dunta Robinson. Not to mention the loss of the aging Michael Turner. But the return of Gonzalez almost ensures that Atlanta’s offense will continue to showcase one of the most dynamic air attacks in the game. Aside from the passing game, though, the Falcons have a number of areas that are going to need to be addressed going into the off-season, especially in the backfield and on the defensive side of the ball.
So what will the next move be for Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons? With free agency beginning today and the draft only a month away, I’m sure we will begin to see the blueprint for the 2013 Atlanta Falcons very soon. Personally, I would like to see the Falcons build up the defense through April’s draft rather than signing any big names through free agency. I believe it would be more beneficial to save that money to re-sign their own free agents in Brent Grimes and Sam Baker. Any money that is left over could be used to sign a serviceable running back, especially since that position has become less of a focal point in Atlanta’s pass first offense.
However, these are just my opinions. What do you think the Falcons should do in free agency and in the NFL Draft? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment area below!