Could Antonio Gates return to the Chargers? It’s at least a consideration in L.A. as the Bolts have reached out to the tight end’s camp.
“Obviously, Antonio would be a natural fit,” GM Ted Telesco said on 97.3 FM (via Jack Wang of the L.A. Daily News). “He’s someone that we have talked to. We’ve talked to his representatives. Sometimes, it’s not just as easy as saying, ‘Hey, let’s just bring him back. Let’s go.’”
Gates, who will celebrate his 38th birthday on Monday, earned $5MM last season. It’s not clear whether he’s expecting a similar offer this time around. The Chargers, in theory, would have the flexibility to accommodate a similar deal with about $8.8MM in cap room and all of their rookies under contract. Still, the Bolts may be looking for Gates to take less.
In April, the Chargers announced that Gates would not be re-signed. However, the Chargers have a clear need at tight end following Hunter Henry‘s season-ending injury. Virgil Green is the only tight end of note currently on the roster and he is much more of a blocking specialist than a pass-catcher. None of the other tight ends of the roster have ever recorded a regular season catch in the NFL.
No one would expect Gates to reprise his excellence of, say, 2009, but he was still productive as recently as two years ago when he caught 53 passes for 548 yards and seven scores.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.