Antonio Gates Net Worth: How Much Did the Tight End Make During His Long Career?

What is Antonio Gates' net worth, and how much did the former Chargers tight end earn during his 16-year career in the NFL?

Antonio Gates will be remembered as one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, with a career spanning 16 seasons. One of the more unique parts of Gates’ career was that he spent the entirety of those 16 seasons with the Chargers franchise in both San Diego and Los Angeles.

In the modern age of free agency, a one-franchise man whose career spanned more than a decade is relatively uncommon. In remaining with the Chargers for all that time, Gates likely left money on the table by never fully embracing the free agent experience until he was in the twilight of his career.

Nevertheless, Gates still managed to pocket a significant amount of money during his career. Let’s take a look at Gates’ predicted net worth as well as his earnings from a long and fruitful NFL career.

What Are Antonio Gates’ Net Worth and Career Earnings?

According to multiple reports, Gates’ net worth is right around the region of $30 million. That is just under half of what he earned during his NFL career, with his final income over his 16-year career sitting at $71.364 million.

Gates went undrafted in the 2003 NFL Draft before signing with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent ahead of that season. His first contract in the NFL was a two-year deal worth just $537,000, of which only $7,000 was guaranteed.

In his second season, Gates would earn first-team All-Pro honors thanks to 964 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Following the 2004 season, he signed a six-year deal with the Chargers worth $22.5 million. In the first two years of that contract, he would be selected as a first-team All-Pro in both seasons.

Throughout that six-year deal, Gates would be selected as a first-team All-Pro twice and elected to the Pro Bowl for five straight years. In 2009, the fifth year of the deal, Gates was selected as a second-team All-Pro. Ahead of the 2010 season, he signed a six-year extension worth a further $36.175 million.

Gates was again selected for the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2011, also earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2010. He played out the full terms of his six-year extension, taking him to 13 years with the franchise.

In 2026, Gates became a free agent but re-signed with the Chargers for two more years at a total of $11 million. The final year of his career came in 2018 after signing another one-year deal with the team.

By the end of his career, Gates had earned more than $71 million, which places him seventh all-time on the TE career earnings list as of February 2024. Gates’ career earnings are slightly more than that of Rob Gronkowski, who earned just under $71 million in his 11-year career.

It’s interesting to think how much Gates could have earned if he had hit the open market during the first 10 years of his career. His second contract in 2005 was signed as an exclusive rights free agent, and then his contract extension in 2010 came with a year remaining on his deal.

As of February 2024, Gates is third all-time among tight ends for receiving yards (11,841) and receptions (955), and tops the list when it comes to receiving touchdowns (116).

Had he hit free agency in either 2005 or 2011 we could easily have been talking about Gates as the tight end with the highest career earnings during his time in the NFL.

KEEP READING: Revisiting Antonio Gates’ Legendary NFL Career

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