Assuming Antonio Gates wants to keep playing this season, fans of these teams should want the future Hall of Fame tight end.
After a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter late last week, the Los Angeles Chargers officially announced Antonio Gates will not be back with the team for the coming season. The soon-to-be 38-year old played less than half of the team’s offensive snaps last year, with his worst numbers since his rookie season (30 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns).
But Gates surely still has something to offer, even if he isn’t a starter and can’t be particularly effective with a heavy load of snaps. The most recent word was he wants to keep playing, with Super Bowl-contending teams probably at the top of his list now that a return to the Chargers is out the window.
The NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns by a tight end (114) may also have 1,000 career catches (927 right now) and/or 12,000 career yards (11,508 right now) on his radar to further enhance his Hall of Fame resume.
But getting a ring is probably No. 1 for Gates as he looks for a new team, and these five teams make sense as potential landing spots.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles cut Brent Celek and lost Trey Burton in free agency, with Richard Rodgers signed and Dallas Goedert drafted in the second round to fill in the depth at tight end behind Zach Ertz.
But it’s not out of the question for Philadelphia to consider adding Gates, as a veteran mentor for Goedert and a potential upgrade over Rodgers as a red zone target. Rodgers’ roster spot may not really be threatened by Goedert, but Gates’ availability may have the attention of Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman enough to add some name-brand competition to the team’s tight end mix for the defending Super Bowl champions.