Durability pays off for Tony Gonzalez

You have to hand it to Tony Gonzalez because that’s exactly what the Atlanta Falcons are doing.

The 35-year-old tight end isn’t showing any signs of aging and he’s being rewarded for that. According to contract figures obtained by ESPN.com, Gonzalez is collecting a $31,250 bonus for every game in which he is active. He’s been active in all 13 games so far this season and the total will come to $500,000 for the year if Gonzalez is active for the remaining three regular-season games.

That comes on top of the $5.75 million Gonzalez is making in base salary this season. Gonzalez also collected the full $500,000 bonus in 2009 and 2010 for being active for every regular season game since joining the Falcons.

The incentive first was put into the contract when Gonzalez was with the Kansas City Chiefs and renegotiated his deal in 2007. Gonzalez also collected the full bonus from the Chiefs in 2008 when he was active for every game.

The Falcons kept the contract intact when they traded for Gonzalez in 2009. The contract expires after this season.

At various times since he’s been in Atlanta, Gonzalez has talked about retiring at some point, but never has set a firm timeline. He has 73 catches and seven touchdowns this season, so it’s likely the Falcons will have some interest in bringing him back if Gonzalez elects to continue playing.