11:38am: It’ll be a two-year, $12MM contract, with the previously-reported $6MM guarantee, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. The Chargers have now confirmed the signing.
11:23am: Gates will get $6MM in guaranteed money on his new contract, tweets Rand Getlin of the NFL Network.
10:57am: Gates will get a two-year deal from the Chargers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who tweets that the agreement should allow the veteran tight end to finish his career with the team.
Gates, an eight-time Pro Bowler, was eligible for unrestricted free agency this month, but he never seemed likely to leave the team with whom he has spent the last 13 seasons. Although he’ll turn 36 this summer, Gates remains extremely productive. In just 11 games last season, he racked up 56 receptions for 630 yards and five touchdowns. In 2014, he grabbed 69 balls for 821 yards and 12 TDs.
While Gates is heading back to San Diego, the status of fellow free agent tight end Ladarius Green remains up in the air. Green, who is about a decade younger than Gates, has reportedly received interest on the free agent market, and could be in line for a nice payday from a team willing to give him a bigger role than he has had in San Diego.
Terms of Gates’ new deal aren’t yet known, but given his age and the uncertainty facing the Chargers’ franchise beyond the 2016 season, a one-year contract would make the most sense.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.