ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
78°
Partly Cloudy
H 85° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 85° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    85°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H 85° L 67°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    84°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 84° L 62°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Football
Gonzalez decision muddles Falcons offseason
Close

Gonzalez decision muddles Falcons offseason

Gonzalez decision muddles Falcons offseason
Photo Credit: Brian Blanco
With Tony Gonzalez retiring after his 17th NFL season, he owns a legacy of stats that defines him as one of the best tight ends in NFL history.

Gonzalez decision muddles Falcons offseason

The Falcons’ preparations for free agency are complicated by the issue of whether tight end Tony Gonzalez will return for his 17th season in the NFL.

Teams can start talking to player representatives Saturday, and free agency starts Tuesday.

After releasing veterans John Abraham, Michael Turner and Dunta Robinson, the Falcons stated that they cleared salary-cap room in order to re-sign their own players and leave open space for Gonzalez’s possible return.

They’ve since ramped up negotiations with safety William Moore and left tackle Sam Baker, while signing backup running back Antone Smith to a modest two-year, $1.425 million contract extension.

Smith received a $65,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $630,000 and $730,000. The Falcons would like to keep Moore and Baker from hitting the open market.

As of Thursday, the Falcons had $20.5 million under their adjusted cap of $124.3 million.

Gonzalez’s cap number last season was $5.9 million.

So if they give him a modest raise to come back and push his number up to $6.5 million, the Falcons would have $14 million left in salary-cap space.

Moore, who went to the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate, could demand a deal near the top of the safety market. The top safety salary belongs to San Diego’s Eric Weddle, whose deal last July averaged $8 million.

If the Falcons gave Moore a deal that averaged $8 million, they could lower his cap number by spreading out the signing bonus over the term of the contract.

Weddle received a $13 million signing bonus and had a cap number of $3.9 million last season.

If Moore’s cap number is $4 million, the Falcons would have $10 million left.

One of Baker’s comparables is New York Giants left tackle Will Beatty, who recently signed a five-year deal worth $37.5 million. His cap number for next season is $3.6 million.

So the Falcons would have roughly $6.4 million left in cap space for cornerback Brent Grimes, Ryan, the rookies and any veteran pickups.

That’s a tight spot, but manageable under the salary-cap rules.

Last season, Gonzalez had a stellar season. He caught 107 passes for 1,069 yards and 10 touchdowns passes over 18 games. He made one of the big catches that helped the Falcons get into field-goal range for their game-winning kick against Seattle in the NFC divisional playoff win.

“Tony Gonzalez has been so effective for us. To catch over 100 balls in a season as a 36-year-old is unbelievable,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said.

Gonzalez recently turned 37 and is aware of the team’s desire to know about his status for 2013 “sooner rather than later,” according to coach Mike Smith. If Gonzalez does retire, he wants to start a broadcasting career.

Gonzalez, Grimes and Ryan are all represented by Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of Creative Artists Agency, generally considered the top sports representation firm in football.

“Tom Condon, based on my experience with (negotiating) Peyton Manning’s contracts, is a notoriously tough bargainer, and I say that with respect,” said Bill Polian, former Indianapolis general manager.

Based on those Manning negotiations, Polian projects that Ryan’s deal likely won’t get done before the season starts. Ryan is set to play 2013 with a base salary of $10 million.

“The likelihood is that they won’t reach a deal in the summer months, in which case, you will have to play it out,” Polian said. “The (collective bargaining agreement) gives the player free agency, but it also gives the club the right to have the player complete his contract. The two rights are equivalent.”

Ryan’s negotiating position received a boost recently when Baltimore signed Joe Flacco to a six-year, $120.6 million contract.

Joel Corry, a former sports agent who covers sports business for nationalfootballpost.com, projected that Ryan’s deal could land between $126 million to $138 million in wake of the Flacco deal.

“Tom is as tough and realistic of a bargainer that there is,” Polian said.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

News

  • The Latest on the Senate Republican health care bill (all times local): 3:45 p.m. Texas Sen. John Cornyn says passing a health care bill won't get any easier if Republican leaders delay a Senate vote on the GOP health care plan. The Senate's No. 2 Republican said the Senate is on pace to hold a key procedural vote Wednesday. He said he feels 'a sense of urgency' to push forward because the health care system is in 'full meltdown mode.' Cornyn made the comments Sunday at a private gathering hosted by the libertarian Koch brothers in Colorado. He acknowledged the bill has critics: 'Some people have been more public about concerns but said they want to get to yes.' He said the vote is 'going to be close' and President Donald Trump is 'going to be important in the process.' ___ 3:25 p.m. President Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace the health care law Republicans deride as 'Obamacare.' But Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Sunday the Senate's current plan to overhaul health care 'is not a full repeal or full replace.' The Republican lawmaker says, 'This is largely a Medicaid reform package.' Senate Republican leaders are scrambling for enough votes to approve their health care legislation as soon as this week. Sasse said he's neither finished reading the bill nor taken a position on it. Sasse addressed health care at a private retreat for top donors to the libertarian Koch brothers' political network, which favors full repeal. He was the featured luncheon speaker also attended by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Sen. John Cornyn. ___ 11:25 a.m. President Donald Trump is bemoaning what he calls 'the level of hostility' that he says has stymied bipartisanship in Washington. While discussing the Republican health bill during an interview on 'Fox & Friends,' Trump said it would be great if lawmakers from both parties could 'come up something that everybody's happy with.' Then he criticizes two prominent Democratic senators. Trump says the Democrats' 'theme is resist' and that 'if it was the greatest bill ever proposed in mankind, we wouldn't get a vote' from them. Trump said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized the GOP bill before knowing what was in it. And the president called Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren 'somebody that's just got a lot of hatred.' Warren is a leading liberal and defender of the current health law. ___ 11:20 a.m. One of the Republican senators who's opposing his party's health care bill as written says the Senate shouldn't vote on the plan this week. The lengthy proposal only came out last week, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to begin voting this week. That's not sitting well with GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He says: 'I would like to delay the thing. There's no way we should be voting on this next week. No way.' He tells NBC's 'Meet the Press' that he has 'a hard time' believing that his constituents or even he 'will have enough time to properly evaluate' the measure. Johnson says he's made his views clear to the party leadership and the White House. ___ 10:45 a.m. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says Senate passage of the Republican bill to replace former President Barack Obama's health law is too close to call. He told ABC's 'This Week' the GOP has 'at best, a 50-50 chance.' In the narrowly divided Senate, defections from just three of the 52 Republican senators would doom the legislation. Schumer says Democrats have made clear they would be willing to work with Republicans to pass a Senate bill if they agree to drop a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and instead work to improve it. Schumer described the GOP proposal as 'devastating' to the middle class and 'that's what's making it so hard for them to pass it.' ___ 10:30 a.m. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she thinks getting the votes needed in the Senate this week to pass a Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act could be very difficult. The moderate Republican says she has 'very serious concerns' about the proposed legislation but hasn't yet taken a position on it. She cited in part provisions that she believes could cut Medicaid more than the House version. So far five Republican senators have announced their opposition. Defections from just three of the Senate's 52 Republicans would doom the legislation. Collins says another seven to eight senators including herself remain troubled about the possible Medicaid cuts. She says she intends to wait for a Congressional Budget Office analysis before making a decision. Collins spoke on ABC's 'This Week.' ___ 9 a.m. President Donald Trump says he doesn't think congressional Republicans are 'that far off' on passing a health overhaul to replace what he's calling 'the dead carcass of Obamacare.' Trump says he believes his majority party is 'going to get there.' But that optimism runs counter to the public opposition of five Republican senators so far to the Senate GOP plan that would scuttle much of former President Barack Obama's health law. Unless those holdouts can be swayed, their numbers are more than enough to torpedo the measure developed in private by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and deliver a bitter defeat for the president. Trump tells 'Fox and Friends' that 'we've a very good plan.
  • DeKalb County police are trying to find a man thought to be a serial robber and his accomplice, saying they present more than just a threat to businesses. Authorities say it’s a public safety issue, too. “It's a safety issue when you're robbing businesses,” detective Chastity Cantrelo told Channel 2 Action News. “At any point, a customer could come in and startle the suspects, and he could make the mistake of shooting someone.” The person has hit two Waffle Houses and a Walgreens in three weeks. Police say he has never pulled a gun, just shown a handle. In two surveillance videos, the robber is wearing the same outfit — a gray and black zip-up hoodie, black sweatpants and sneakers. Also, he’s always wearing a white glove on one hand to keep from leaving fingerprints, police said. The armed robberies have some people in the area concerned. “I guess they feel really bold and brazen about what they're doing,” resident Ed Banks said. “It is pretty scary.” Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting crimestoppersatlanta.org.
  • SeaWorld is under investigation by two federal agencies who subpoenaed statements made by the company and its executives on or before August 2014 regarding the impact of the “Blackfish Documentary,” according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings published Friday.  The theme-park company reports receiving subpoenas in June from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of an investigation into statements about the 2013 anti-captivity documentary “and trading in the Company’s securities.” >> Read more trending news The filing also indicates the company received similar subpoenas from the SEC, although it is unclear when those were received.  “The Company has cooperated with these government inquiries and intends to continue to cooperate with any government requests or inquiries,” the filing says.  The filing also indicates the company’s board of directors formed a special committee with legal counsel to determine how to handle these investigations on June 16, two days after the company’s shareholder meeting.  The full SEC disclosure reads as follows:  In June 2017, the Company received a subpoena in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice concerning disclosures and public statements made by the Company and certain executives and/or individuals on or before August 2014, including those regarding the impact of the ‘Blackfish’ documentary, and trading in the Company’s securities. The Company also has received subpoenas from the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with these matters. On June 16, 2017, the Company’s Board of Directors formed a Special Committee comprised of independent directors with respect to these inquiries. The Special Committee has engaged counsel to advise and assist the Committee. The Company has cooperated with these government inquiries and intends to continue to cooperate with any government requests or inquiries.
  • On the eighth anniversary of the death of pop icon Michael Jackson, some of his family members are remembering him in different ways. ABC News reported that members of the Jackson family have made social media posts and tribute performances. The late singer’s brothers -- Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon -- performed as The Jacksons at England’s Glastonbury Festival Friday. Dressed in military-style jackets similar to those worn by their brother, they performed “Can You Feel It,” the group’s 1981 single.  The brothers also sang The Jackson 5’s “I'll Be There” and Michael Jackson’s “Gone Too Soon,” dedicating both to Michael Jackson. Related: Janet Jackson loving motherhood as she gets back into her music, producer says Jermaine Jackson wrote a message about his brother on Twitter before the performance, saying, “We'll be 4 brothers on stage joined by Michael in spirit. Through the music we made together, we find comfort in memories, esp (sic) this weekend.” “We all love and miss you,” LaToya Jackson, Michael Jackson’s older sister, wrote on Twitter. Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson, also shared thoughts on Twitter.  According to E! News, she also got a new tattoo on her foot that reads, “Applehead.” The website reported that the word was a term of endearment Michael Jackson was known to use for his loved ones. The tattoo is now one of several she has to honor her father. “With every step i take, you lift my foot and guide me forward. Love you,” she captioned the photo of her new tattoo on Instagram. Michael Jackson died June 25, 2009, at age 50. The cause of death was cardiac arrest as the result of a mixture of medications in his system.
  • The Latest on an oil tanker fire in Pakistan that killed more than 140 people (all times local): 12:20 a.m. An announcement over a mosque's loudspeaker that an overturned tanker truck had sprung a leak sent scores of villagers racing to the scene to gather spilled fuel. Then the wreck exploded, engulfing people in flames as they screamed in terror. Hospital and rescue officials say at least 153 men, women and children were killed, and dozens more are in critical condition. ___ 8:20 p.m. An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 153 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel. A doctor at Bahawalpur's Victoria Hospital in south Punjab said the latest deaths occurred at a hospital in Multan where some of the 50 critically injured were taken, many of them suffering extensive burns. A senior rescue official in the area said the death toll could rise further as dozens are still in critical condition. Local news channels showed black smoke billowing skyward and scores of burned bodies, as well as rescue officials speeding the injured to hospital and army helicopters ferrying the wounded. ___ 2:30 p.m. A rescue official says the death toll from an oil tanker fire in Pakistan has risen to 148, with dozens more in critical condition. The disaster occurred when hundreds of residents of a nearby village gathered at the site of an overturned oil tanker to collect the leaking fuel. It's believed that a spark from the many cars and motorcycles that raced to the scene ignited the fuel. Dr. Mohammad Baqar, a senior rescue official in the area, confirmed the latest toll, updating a previous figure. He says many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition and will have to be identified through DNA testing. Some of the most badly burned were evacuated by army helicopters to Multan, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. The dead included men, women and children. ___ 10 a.m. A Pakistani official says more than 100 people have been killed after an oil tanker overturned and burst into flames. The tanker flipped over Sunday and the fire from the oil spill engulfed scores of residents who had rushed to collect leaking fuel. Another 50 people have been seriously injured. Dr. Rizwan Naseer, director of Punjab provincial rescue services, says rescuers are collecting the badly burned bodies, many beyond recognition. He says the death toll is likely to rise.
  • Officer Jeffrey Leach traded a chance to write a ticket for an opportunity to teach a lesson, Dunwoody police said. Leach, who joined the Dunwoody Police Department last March, pulled a car over when he suspected a child wasn’t properly seated in a car seat, police said. The driver admitted he didn’t have a seat for his youngest child and Leach, who works as one of the department’s car seat installation technicians, gave the man a choice. Rather than pay a citation, the driver and his two children followed Leach to Target, where he helped them choose a safe and affordable seat. Then, Leach installed it. “We're super proud of Officer Leach for exercising a little compassion and helping keep our Dunwoody streets safe,” Lt. Fidel Espinoza said on Facebook.  RELATED: Sheriff reduces jail time for Georgia inmates who saved officer  In other news: