Chicago Bears trade for Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Ryan Bates in exchange for 5th-round pick

Bates could be Bears’ new center

Buffalo Bills' Ryan Bates celebrates with fans after an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills defeated the Jets 27-10.

The Bears have traded for Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Ryan Bates in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round draft pick, the team has announced.

The Bears tried to sign Bates two years ago when he was a restricted free agent. The Bills had the rights to match any offer that Bates received from another team, and they matched the four-year deal the Bears were offering back then.

Now, the Bears are flat out buying Bates from the Bills. The 27-year-old offensive lineman played in all 17 games on special teams last season, but did not start on the offensive line. Bates has experience at all the interior positions on the offensive line and could potentially fill the team’s hole at the center position.

The Bears released veteran interior lineman Cody Whitehair last month, and center Lucas Patrick is set to become a free agent. The only other center on the roster is Doug Kramer, who has not played a regular season snap in two years with the team. With Nate Davis holding things down at left guard and Teven Jenkins playing solid at right guard, Bates could be destined to become the Bears’ next center.

Bates has two more seasons on his current contract, which could keep him in Chicago through the 2025 season. Bates has appeared in 73 regular season games with 19 starts in five seasons with Buffalo. He also appeared in nine playoff games, starting five.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.