Now Sparano wishes Gonzalez had been dealt. That would mean he wouldn't need to worry about stopping the prolific Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium.
"It's really difficult because they move him around," Sparano said. "They move him all over the place. The guy rarely lines up as a tight end. He can be the widest on the field. He can be in the slot. He can be in the backfield.
"I mean, he's very difficult to defend that way just to get the matchup that you want to get on him."
Gonzalez was on the trading block, and the Bills reportedly offered a third-round pick the Chiefs were willing to accept. All Gonzalez had to do was sign off.
But the trade deadline came and went before the Dolphins faced the Bills and beat them twice.
Would Gonzalez have made a difference in either of those games or prevented Buffalo's season collapse?
Gonzalez would have been a significant help. Such a dangerous target would have opened up the offense in general and might have kept quarterback Trent Edwards -- and the Bills -- from falling apart in November.
In the nine games since the trade was scuttled, Gonzalez has 63 catches and six TDs.
"When you're playing him, if you're deciding to play man-to-man at all with him, the guy's a basketball player when the ball is in the air and the guy goes and gets the football," Sparano said.
"He's a hard, hard matchup when it comes to tight ends in this league, and that's why he's had the success that he's had and the career that's he had. We've got to figure out a way to do it."