Antonio Gates’ time with the Chargers appears to be over. The Bolts informed the tight end this offseason that they do not plan to bring him back to Los Angeles, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. However, Gates wants to continue playing, so it sounds like he’ll finish his career elsewhere.
Gates will turn 38 in June, but he believes that he still has something left in the tank. The Chargers do not necessarily agree. Last year, he saw less targets than youngster Hunter Henry and finished out with just 30 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Those were his lowest totals in each category since his 2003 season.
The NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions among tight ends with 114, Gates served in a complementary role last season. He caught three TD passes to eclipse Tony Gonzalez in this category, but the 30 receptions and 316 yards marked significant production dips from his 2016 slate.
The eight-time Pro Bowl pass-catcher has only played for one team since coming into the league as a UDFA out of Kent State. But the Bolts look set to turn to Henry, who has emerged as their go-to tight end in his two seasons. Gates signed a two-year deal with the Chargers in 2016 and made $11MM. He’ll surely have to play on a one-year commitment if he lands elsewhere.
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