Ah, it seems like just a few days ago I was chatting about how The Chargers Don’t Really Seem That Interested in Antonio Gates. That’s probably because, until these last few days, nary a cricket chirp has been heard on the subject. Ever since Hunter Henry went down in the first reps of training this year, the Chargers have been noticeably short of experienced Tight Ends.
Fans and colleagues have chimed in about how Antonio Gates fits the bill perfectly—and indeed he does! While there might not be a full contract-worth of tread left on the tires, Gates has a proven chemistry with Philip Rivers and experience that only a handful of other players can boast.
Because there appeared to be interest on both sides but no evident movement closer or further away from an agreement, it was and still is assumed that the Chargers brass and Gates’ camp are trying to find some numbers that both parties can agree on.
Today’s move doesn’t necessarily relate to the Chargers Tight End dilemma, but it is the most logical conclusion.
The Chargers’ roster now stands at 89 as the Bolts waived former seventh-round pick Donavon Clark, now just a few days before the start of training camp. The 224th overall pick out of Michigan State in the 2016 NFL Draft suffered an ACL injury in each of the past two seasons, spending both years on the Reserve/Injured list.
It’s ruthlessly fair to say that Donavon Clark has been a dud for the Chargers. However, he was always a shot in the dark. His 2016 NFL Draft profile says:
Wide-bodied guard prospect who has been able to handle his business at tackle when called on, but who lacks the athleticism to play outside in the pros. Clarks inability to sustain blocks and make the most of his power stems, in part, from a very narrow play base and that could be challenging to correct. His intelligence and toughness give him a shot at making a roster.
Donavon Clark will need his toughness and intelligence to again make an NFL roster, but his departure will open a door for another player for the LA Chargers.
The Antonio Gates chatter makes sense. In the last day, his agent, Tom Condon, publicly announced that he is actively negotiating with the Chargers. While we can all assume that that has been going on for weeks now, this recent pair of news items adds up to Gates being back in the powder blues.
However, the omens have been wrong before. So we’ll see!
-Jason “Open the FloodGates” Michaels