In a move that was expected by some and hoped for by many, the Los Angeles Chargers have reunited with tight end Antonio Gates. The veteran and future Hall of Famer inked a one-year deal with the club on Sunday.
When perusing the record books of the Los Angeles Chargers, one can’t help but notice the name of Antonio Gates sprinkled all over the place. Entering his 16th season in the NFL with the Chargers, the former Kent State product owns all of the major receiving records.
What you won’t see in those record books are any of the names of the other tight ends on the roster. You obviously won’t find the name of Virgil Green, a first-year addition to the tight-end group. And most folks have never even heard of Sean Culkin — or Braedon Bowman. (He is no longer on the roster)
SIDE NOTE: I absolutely CRUSH with both Culkin and Bowman in Madden, but whatever.
Earlier this offseason, the Chargers and general manager Tom Telesco made the difficult decision to move forward without re-signing Antonio Gates to a new contract. The team believed it was time to move forward with Hunter Henry as the focal point at tight end.
And then the inevitable happened, because why not?
Hunter Henry tore his ACL in May and then everyone and their dog began clamoring for the re-signing of Antonio Gates.
Bringing Antonio Gates back into the mix makes a lot of sense for the Bolts. The rapport between Gates and signal caller Philip Rivers is undeniable.
Sure, Gates is not going to outrun anyone on the opposing defense, but he and Philip are so in-tune that the duo can still find ways to be effective in the right situations.
Among other factors, the fact that the Chargers are loaded at the skill positions lends itself to justifying the signing of Gates. When looking at the Chargers’ receiving corps — Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin — it is easy to see that a defensive coordinator will have his hands full when gameplanning against the passing game. Though Antonio Gates may be an afterthought on your fantasy teams, that won’t be the case for the “GOAT” come this season.
I am not naive enough to think that Antonio Gates will light up the boxscore in his 16th season. But I do believe that his signing was much-needed when it comes to rounding out the tight-end position. Though newly acquired tight end Green will most likely start for the Chargers, expect Gates to see anywhere from 25-40 percent of the snaps throughout the ’18 campaign.
It is also worth noting that the Chargers placed Hunter Henry on the PUP list. They did so as opposed to sending him straight to the season-ending injured-reserve list. This indicates that the team feels as though they have a real shot at making some noise as the season wears on, allowing for a late-season return for the young tight end out of Arkansas.
Antonio Gates is not going to lead the league or the team in any statistical categories of note. His signing makes perfect sense for the Bolts, though, as an extra three-four difference-making plays a game are all the team needs to propel themselves back in to the postseason dance known as the NFL playoffs.
Look for Antonio Gates to snag approximately 30-35 receptions for right around 300-350 yards receiving with six touchdown receptions in 2018. Again, his presence on the field is more about possibilities than production.
Over his illustrious career, Antonio Gates has hauled in 927 passes for 11,508 yards and 114 touchdowns.
Gates = GOAT
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave “Booga” Peters