The Chargers need tight end help now that Hunter Henry is done for the year ... and Geno Smith's got the perfect guy for the job -- ANTONIO GATES!!
The new Los Angeles quarterback told us he's hopin' the Bolts bring back the future Hall of Famer -- and his reasoning is pretty simple.
"Gates is a legend!"
We also asked Geno if he thinks LeBron James is the top talent in Los Angeles now ... and Geno doesn't disagree!
Sorry, Philip Rivers.