Bears

Buffalo Bills will match Bears’ offer for OL Ryan Bates

Bates reportedly will sign a 4-year contract with Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills will match the Bears’ offer for restricted free-agent offensive lineman Ryan Bates, Bills general manager Brandon Beane told the NFL Network on Monday. Bates will not be making the move to Chicago.

As a Bills restricted free agent, Bates could seek contract offers from other teams, but the Bills had the option to match any offer from another team.

The Bears offered Bates a contract Thursday. The 25-year-old lineman also reportedly visited with the Vikings and Patriots in recent weeks.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles likely saw potential in Bates, who has been a backup for most of his career, but who became a starter toward the end of last season and started both playoff games for the Bills at left guard in January.

Bates’ new deal with the Bills is reportedly a four-year contract. It indicates that Poles will have to go back to the drawing board.

Bates’ NFL career began in 2019 after going undrafted out of Penn State. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after the draft but was traded to Buffalo in August of that year. In three years with Buffalo, Bates appeared in 41 regular-season games, making four starts. He played in all 16 games in 2020 and all 17 games in 2021, mostly on special teams.

The Bears still are in need of a starting right guard after former guard James Daniels left via free agency. Daniels agreed to a three-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers this month.

The team signed former Packers lineman Lucas Patrick, who has experience at guard and center, but Patrick told members of the media that he planned to play center. The Bears also signed former Vikings offensive lineman Dakota Dozier on Thursday. Dozier was a starting guard for the Vikings in 2020 but was demoted to a backup role in 2021 and might be better suited as a backup.

As the roster stands now, the Bears are looking at a starting lineup on the offensive line that includes young tackles Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom, Cody Whitehair at guard, Patrick at center and a hole at the other guard spot. Other linemen currently on the roster include Dozier, center Sam Mustipher, tackle Lachavious Simmons, tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr., tackle Willie Wright and reserve center Dieter Eiselen.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.