Bills Expected to Lose Key Offensive Lineman After Bears Poach

Ryan Bates, a guard forced into starting action due to injury and illness, was an unexpected late-season gem for the Buffalo Bills. He played through the playoffs.

Buffalo might lose the 25-year-old restricted free agent after the Chicago Bears made an offer it may not accept.

Bates, one of the top young lineman on the market, had visited many clubs since free agency began. Now the cash-strapped Bills might lose him.

According to ESPN's Alaina Getzenberg and Courtney Cronin, the Bills gave Bates a $2.4 million original-round tender,

but he visited the Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and New England Patriots and drew interest. Buffalo can match any Bates contract offer, but Chicago's may be too costly.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune said that the Bills may struggle to match the Bears' Bates offer.

Biggs remarked that Bates' thin background and the Bears' need for offensive line improvements made the offer from Chicago a stretch.

Since they are close to the salary cap, the Bills would struggle to match a front-loaded deal.

“It’s a Bears projection as Bates has only four career regular-season and two postseason starts,” Biggs noted.

Other teams saw potential in the former Penn State undrafted free agent, who visited the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots. 

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