San Diego Chargers reach contract extension with tight end Antonio Gates

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The San Diego Chargers have one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL led by arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league in perennial Pro Bowler Philip Rivers.

With Rivers behind center, the Chargers have progressively gotten better with every passing season and seem to improve their chances to contend for a Super Bowl title ever year, but the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback wouldn’t be as successful in his time in San Diego without tight end Antonio Gates at his disposal in the passing game.

Over the past half decade or so, the San Diego Chargers have been LaDainian Tomlinson’s team as he was considered the best running back in the NFL and perhaps the biggest threat in the Chargers offense, but after he was recently released by San Diego (signed with the New York Jets shortly after), three-time All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates has become the number one option for Philip Rivers.

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Not only has Gates become a very valuable commodity for the Chargers after the departure of LT, but he was also on the verge of a lucrative contract extension that would most likely have him retire in a Chargers uniform.

As of right now, Antonio Gates is a 30 year old tight end with plenty of good seasons
left in him, but even though that age is considered to be over the hill for running backs around the NFL, tight ends have been able to continue to put up big numbers well into their 30s.

Reportedly, the six-time Pro Bowl tight end and the San Diego Chargers have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension that will be worth about $36.175 million dollars. Along with making about $7+ million a season from now until 2015, arguably the league’s best tight end will have $20.4 million of this new deal guaranteed.

Needless to say, this is a huge contract for a player that just turned 30 and the biggest contract ever given to a NFL tight end, but Antonio Gates is worth every penny as his numbers continue to be impressive with every passing season.

Last season Gates finished the year with 1,157 yards, eight touchdowns and 79 receptions. Even though the San Diego Chargers were the hottest team in the NFL heading into the playoffs last season with 11 straight wins, Antonio Gates and company lost to Rex Ryan’s New York Jets in their first postseason game and went home a little earlier than anticipated.

Despite the disappointing end to last season with the loss to the Jets in the playoffs, the Chargers have a very good squad heading into the 2010-2011 season and have been labeled as a possible Super Bowl title contender once again.

The one thing the Chargers will have to address next season will be the future of Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson. After being arrested with his second DUI, the Chargers best wideout was suspended by the league for the first three games of the upcoming season which could cause San Diego to struggle to start the season once again.

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