Tony Gonzalez hasn't publicly declared that he will return for a 17th NFL season, but here's another sign that he apparently is leaning in that direction: The Atlanta Falcons tight end has given his agent, Tom Condon, the green light to talk to the team about a new contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because the talks have not been made public.

With the free-agent market to open at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, the Falcons could use some clarity about the status their all-pro tight end, who is contemplating retirement. Gonzalez's previous contract has expired.

If Gonzalez walks away from football, it is likely he would pursue television opportunities. Now, however, football seems to be the preferred option.

Condon is expected to explore the contractual situation with the Falcons today, although it is unclear whether a deal could be struck immediately. According to a report by Michael Silver of Yahoo!, citing a source, Gonzalez is seeking $7 million for the 2013 season in addition to a reduced training camp.

The discussions could determine the tight end's eventual decision.

Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon had lunch with Gonzalez three weeks ago and Moon came away convinced Gonzalez will return for a 17th NFL season, given the right defensive improvements by the Falcons.

"I think he's going to come back. I think he's leaning very, very heavily that way,'' Moon told USA TODAY Sports. "He definitely wants that ring -- that's the thing that keeps biting at him about whether he comes back or not.