The San Diego Chargers finished in last place in the AFC West with a 4-12 record last season, and general manager Tom Telesco has some major decisions to make this offseason both in free agency and in the 2016 NFL Draft. All four of the Chargers tights ends, Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green, John Phillips and David Johnson, are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this offseason.
All four contributed for the Chargers last season, but San Diego's front office is looking to work out deals to bring both Gates and Green back next season, according to Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Tribune. "We'll talk to Tom Condon (Gates' agent) in a little more detail in Indy, and we'll talk to Ladarius' guy in Indy as well," Telesco said.. "It's February, and we've got until September to get the position the best way we see fit. So, we'll see. Through our own players, through free agency and through the draft, we'll see."
There is no time table to get a deal done with Gates, but "an air of formality surrounds it all," according to Gehlken. Gates has spent his entire 13-year NFL career in San Diego and does not want it to end the way it did last season. "I don't want to go out this kind of way," Gates said in December, via The San Diego Tribune. "I don't want to go out as a loser. Winning is the way, ideally, you want to go out. ...I want to make one more run at it, and then if it doesn't work, be like, 'OK.' That's just my feeling right now."
The Chargers veteran tight end said that he has thought about being with one team his entire career as well and was third on the team in receiving yards after being suspended for the first four games of the season. Gates recorded 56 receptions for 630 yards and scored five touchdowns, and he has consistently been a reliable outlet for quarterback Philip Rivers.
While the Chargers will look to keep their veteran tight end, it sounds as though they want to bring Green back as well. The former fourth round pick turns 26 years old this offseason, and he recorded 37 receptions for 429 yards and scored four touchdowns in 13 games. San Diego's front office is looking to bring back both in 2016, but they likely won't overpay for either tight end. The Chargers have many holes to fill after a disappointing 2015 season, and locking up their tight end position may be something they look to take care of early, as they look to fill other holes on their roster.