A look at the Chicago Bears offensive line after first wave of free agency

Chicago Beas (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Beas (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Chicago Bears, Cody Whitehair
Chicago Bears (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears roster looks somewhat slim at the offensive guard spots

If we look at the interior part of the offensive line, things are not much different from 2020. Actually, specifically looking at the guard spot, the difference is that the Chicago Bears are now without soon-to-be 25-year-old James Daniels. As of now, Ryan Poles has not done anything to replace Daniels. If we look at the roster, one would have to assume that Cody Whitehair is a lock to remain the starting left or right guard. His contract somewhat dictates this.

Personally, I would have loved to trade Whitehair (probably not many takers due to his contract) and kept James Daniels instead. I think Daniels’ skill level is on par with Whitehair and his upside makes him the better player. I know Poles didn’t create the situation, but I think he will come to regret losing Daniels in free agency.

One way he can solve that problem is if he is able to sign restricted free agent Ryan Bates to a contract. Bates is scheduled to meet with the Chicago Bears this week, but he’s also meeting with a few other teams too. In fact, he met with the NFC North divisional opponent, the Minnesota Vikings. He also met with the Patriots. Ryan Poles can outbid both those teams and like James Daniels, Ryan Bates is still young at only 25 years old.

The Chicago Bears assistant general manager, Ian Cunningham was part of the Eagles — the team that signed Bates as a UDFA and later traded him to Buffalo. Bates played as an extra tackle for the Bills but eventually started as the team’s right guard in Week 16 before shifting to left guard during the Bills’ playoff run. The issue here is he not only has other suitors, but as a restricted free agent the Bills have the ability to match offers from other teams.

If Ryan Poles can land Bates, that would be ideal, but as of now the team only has Dieter Eiselen as their other guard. I cannot imagine counting on Eiselen to start Week 1. Justin Fields needs an offensive line if he is going to take his next steps developmentally this year.