The Chargers and Gates have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported Wendesday. The new pact is worth $12 million, NFL Media's Rand Getlin added, per a source familiar with the parameters of the deal.
"This is something they thought was going to come down to the wire," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network's Free Agency Frenzy. "The Chargers ended up beating the wire by about four hours, but make no mistake, Antonio Gates is back in the fold and now has a very realistic chance of finishing his career in San Diego, which is all he wanted to do ... and all the team wanted to do."
Entering his age-36 campaign, Gates is likely signing his final pro deal. Walking into his 14th NFL season, the former NCAA basketball star remains a candidate for a smaller workload in 2016. Gates, though, has always argued that his age is irrelevant because he never played college football.
Keeping Gates around serves as another clue that Ladarius Green -- drawing interest from the Steelers, among others -- could be out the door.
Gates hauled in 56 catches for 630 yards last season during a year that saw him battle knee injuries and play in just 11 games. He still remains one of the league's better red-zone threats, though, with five touchdowns through the air in 2015.
Quarterback Philip Rivers swears by Gates, making this an easy re-signing for a Chargers club hoping to get back to the playoffs next season.