The team’s signing of tight end Lance Kendricks is the surest sign yet that Gates’ career might be over.
Kendricks served a one-game suspension to open the season. The Patriots waived him last week to make room for Antonio Brown.
Kendricks has appeared in 125 career games, catching 241 passes for 2,505 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The Chargers also announced they re-signed defensive end Chris Peace to the active roster. To make room, Los Angeles officially placed safety Adrian Phillips on injured reserve and waived receiver Andre Patton.
The team also added safety Adarius Pickett to the practice squad.