[Kansas City.com] Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium had a different feel for Tony Gonzalez.
It was the first time he had gone out to play wondering whether it would be for the last time with the Chiefs.
So Gonzalez spent more time than usual during the Chiefs’ 35-30 victory over Jacksonville taking in and appreciating all of Arrowhead’s peculiar sights and sounds.
Gonzalez is in the final season of his contract and, after hoping he would have an extension by now, has started to think it might not happen at all.
“I’m optimistic we’ll get it done,” said Gonzalez, a tight end who led the Chiefs in receptions this season for the third straight year and six of the last eight.
“That’s what I’m hoping for. We’re talking. But you’ve got to understand that I’ve seen it happen before with guys around here before. I’ve seen it happen with Tony Richardson. I’ve seen it happen with Donnie Edwards. Those are guys you’d think would probably still be Chiefs.”
“If it doesn’t work out, that’s how it goes, and I’m in that boat now. Right now, I can’t tell you which way it’s going to go.”
President/general manager Carl Peterson said after the game that Gonzalez would play for the Chiefs next season.
“I’m not going to lose him,” Peterson said. “If we have to put the franchise tag on him, we’ll do it.”
The sides are disputing what placing the franchise tag on Gonzalez would cost the Chiefs. It could be as low as $7.8 million for one season or as much as $11 million, and the matter could go to a grievance if the Chiefs make Gonzalez their franchise player.
Doing so would effectively prevent Gonzalez from signing with another team.
“If it’s $11 million, we would still franchise him,” Peterson said. “I’m not going to lose the guy. He’s too good of a football player. I’m hopeful we can come to an agreement before it gets to that point. We’ve traded proposals. I think we’ve made him a tremendous offer.”
“But it doesn’t matter. We have enough money in our salary cap for 2007 for Tony Gonzalez whether the franchise tag is $11 million or $7.8 million.”
The Chiefs made Gonzalez their franchise player in 2002 and eventually signed him to the contract that will soon expire.
“I don’t want to get franchised,” Gonzalez said. “That’s no secret. Carl knows that. Who wants to be franchised? But I’ll deal with it and move on, like I did last time.”