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Tony Gonzalez: A Buffalo Bills Perspective

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via assets.sbnation.com

I shared a few e-mails with SBNation's Bills blogger, Brian from Buffalo Rumblings.  There are a few unconfirmed reports out there that the Bills interest in Tony Gonzalez is rising.  Let's see what Brian has to say about Tony and the Bills.

1.  What kind of draft pick(s) will the Bills be willing to give up?  How valuable would he be to the team when his production is at a high level for the next two years?

I can't imagine that the Bills would be willing to part with more than one draft pick, and I also struggle to believe they'd be willing to trade a first-day pick.  I don't think I'd trade more than one pick for Gonzalez, but I certainly think he's worth a third-rounder.  The Bills gave up third and fifth round picks to acquire Marcus Stroud, and while he has a couple more years left in the tank than Gonzalez does, it would be a similar acquisition for the Bills.

His value would be big, there's no question.  Tony has been an asset as a run blocker, and Buffalo is struggling to get Marshawn Lynch going at times this year.  Gonzalez would be even more valuable in the red zone, where rookie receiver James Hardy has failed to make an impact to date.  The Bills have a young quarterback with a ton of promise in Trent Edwards, but he's been forced to use Lynch and Fred Jackson as "safety valve" receivers in lieu of a tight end, because Robert Royal isn't great.  That would by far be Gonzalez' biggest value to Buffalo - giving Edwards a safety valve.  Allowing Edwards the best opportunity to develop into a top-flight signal-caller has to be Priority #1 for the Bills, and Gonzalez would help in that department without question.

2.  How would he fit in the offense?  In Kansas City he recorded 99 receptions last year alone.  Can he expect a similar amount of production in Buffalo?

He wouldn't produce at that level simply because he wouldn't be the go-to guy in Buffalo.  Lee Evans is and would remain that guy, and the Bills like to get Lynch, Jackson and Josh Reed consistently involved in the aerial attack as well.  That doesn't mean Gonzalez wouldn't catch a lot of passes, however; in fact, he'd probably end up being Buffalo's leading receiver if he played a full season here, because Edwards favors a ball-control passing game and checks down often.  A 70-catch season in 16 games in a Bills uniform would be about as much as I would expect out of him, and that contribution would be invaluable, especially if he can throw in a half-dozen touchdown grabs.

3.  Would adding Tony Gonzalez make the Bills a legitimate threat to make a playoff run on the AFC side?

I think they're already legitimate playoff contenders in the AFC, mostly because Edwards is proving to be a highly competent quarterback at this level with elite potential.  Gonzalez would diversify Buffalo's offense, help develop Edwards, and help out in the run game as well.  His addition would be a highly valuable one.  But ultimately, this team is going as far as Edwards and the defense takes them.  The Bills have a more-than-legitimate shot at an AFC East crown, and I think adding Gonzalez gives the Bills a shot at winning a playoff game or two as well.  But since this is all hypothetical, I'm trying not to get too excited about it - because I know that if I'm Tony Gonzalez, I'm pulling for Eli Manning and that Giants defense over Trent Edwards and the Bills defense.  And I know that if I'm the Chiefs, I'm trading Gonzalez as far away as possible, and with the Bills making a trip to Arrowhead later this season, that's not far enough away for the future Hall of Fame guy I just dealt.

Thanks to Brian for answering these questions for us.  Visit Buffalo Rumblings to keep up on what the Bills are saying about the trade rumors.