AFC West Notes: Chargers, Gates, Chiefs, Hill

The Chargers have had private talks with Antonio Gates about his status, GM Tom Telesco tells reporters (Twitter link via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com). Williams’ read on the comments is that Gates will not be back, which makes sense since we have not heard much about the 39-year-old in recent months.

The Chargers brought Gates back for a 16th season after losing Hunter Henry to a season-ending injury, but they no longer have a dire need for tight end help. Barring something unforeseen, it sounds like they’ll finally move on from the eight-time Pro Bowler.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • There are ways the Chiefs could protect themselves in a potential new Tyreek Hill deal, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com writes. The Chiefs usually favor deals with substantial signing bonuses, but in this case, they could follow the 49ers’ team-friendly blueprint of bonuses that are metered out at specific dates. For example, they could advance the dates for injury guarantees, pack much of the compensation into annual per-game active roster bonuses, and broad language to shield against future incidents.
  • Raiders fullback Keith Smith suffered a knee injury while training and will be out a few weeks to begin training camp, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s possible they’ll sign another fullback as he recovers and Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter) suggests that rookie Alec Ingold may push for a 53-man roster spot in his absence. Smith is due a $1.4MM salary in 2019 while Ingold is slated for just $495K.
  • The Broncos ended their kicking competition this week while opening up a punting battle.
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