LA Chargers News

Chargers: Status of the team’s tight ends heading into 2019

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 03: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers heads to a huddle during the game against the Cleveland Browns at StubHub Center on December 3, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Hunter Henry
CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 03: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers heads to a huddle during the game against the Cleveland Browns at StubHub Center on December 3, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Hunter Henry /
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CARSON, CA – SEPTEMBER 30: Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores a touchdown at StubHub Center on September 30, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – SEPTEMBER 30: Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores a touchdown at StubHub Center on September 30, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Chargers tight ends: Gates and final thoughts

So where does that leave Gates? It seemed when the Chargers were prepared to move on from him last season he didn’t really feel like he was done playing football. He’s not coming back for training camp, mostly because of his age. If he were to sign, maybe it comes in September, as it did last season. Gates and Rivers are the veteran leaders of this team, and even if he’s not having as large of a role on the field, it would still be nice to have him around the team. Maybe it’s a scenario where the Bolts give him a job on the coaching staff or the front office. But while it may be nice to have him on the team from a morale standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to bring him back if everyone is healthy.

Henry has the ability to take the offense to another level if he’s able to remain the type of threat he was in 2017. With the receiving corps at a higher point now than it was that season, adding Henry to take pressure off of them and make plays himself sounds scary for opposing defenses. This has NFL Comeback Player of the Year written all over it, maybe similar to Keenan Allen’s campaign from a few seasons ago.

Post-Draft Record Prediction for Chargers. Next

Overall, the Chargers have a pretty good, maybe even great group at tight end. The return of Henry should scare defenses, and Green definitely is a decent No. 2. Culkin will still be around for blocking and maybe catching a few passes a year. The big question is Gates, but it might not be that big of a question if the unit is already set up pretty well regardless of his status. Gates certainly wouldn’t be a bad guy to have waiting to suit up if an injury happens or if he’s needed, like what’s been reported with newly retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Grade: A-

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