Antonio Gates wants to play in the 2015 season. There are question marks with Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson’s status for 2015, but Gates knows that he still wants to get on the field to play the game. Gates had a great season for the Chargers in 2014. He has had a career revival with Mike McCoy running the team as the head coach.
In Norv Turner’s final season with the Chargers, Gates only finished with 49 receptions with 538 yards and 7 touchdowns. There were question marks about his retirement then. In the last two seasons under McCoy, Gates has averaged 73 receptions, 846 yards and 8 touchdowns per season. Mike McCoy and his offense get a lot of use of the tight end in the middle of the field.
Antonio will be in the final year of his current deal and is due to make $9.76 million. That would be the third highest contract on the roster, behind Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle. If the team were to release him, they would save $5.9 million against the cap. I can’t see the team releasing him.
“I feel good,” Gates said after Sunday’s 19-7 loss to Kansas City ended the Chargers’ season. “Obviously, when you finish a season you’re going to have some soreness. That’s the wear-and-tear of an NFL season. But I feel like I’m a Charger for life, and I’m going to try to do everything I can to display that on the football field.
“I still understand that things happen. I have to control only what I can control: my attitude, my passion, how I go about my business. That’s the staple of who I am, and that’s what I’m going to try to do in this off-season.” – The Press Enterprise
The San Diego Chargers have a number of other areas of need at the moment. They do not need to create another need by releasing the future hall of fame tight end.
Ladarius Green would be the player to take over the position if Gates were out. Green had a disappointing season in 2014. After coming off of a season in which he had 17 receptions and 3 touchdowns for 376 yards, he was supposed to get more playing time and start taking over the tight end spot. Instead, he was less productive with only 19 receptions for 226 yards and zero touchdowns. It was supposed to be the year that he broke out, but he disappeared instead.
We look forward to more Rivers to Gates in the future. Hopefully Philip won’t walk right up to him at the line and tell him that he will throw him the ball.