A recent report came out that the Chicago Bears will be hosting free agent guard Ryan Bates for a visit this week. This led to many Bears fans and media overreacting to the news. Many fans said that the team cannot let Bates leave the building, others are touting his high upside already claiming he is an upgrade from James Daniels.
That is a part of the great fun of being a fan, but it has to come with the reality check of what the situation is. Ryan Bates may sign with the Chicago Bears, but it is still unlikely at the moment, and on top of that is not a needle-moving decision.
Chicago Bears may not sign Ryan Bates
First, we have to address the do not let him leave the building argument. Ryan Bates is not a typical free agent, he is restricted so you will have to let him leave the building. The best that the Chicago Bears can do this week is offer him a contract.
Bates, by rule, then has to show the Bills the contract and the Bills will have a chance to match the deal. They tendered him and if they chose to match any deal, Bates has to take the Bills deal.
So, this tender allows Bates to see what his market is, and allows the Bills to pay his market price. If the team is surprised by what he gets offered, they can move on, but if he comes in less, then the team will surely make an easy decision to keep him.
So, right off of the bat, the Chicago Bears will have to overpay Ryan Bates to the point where the Buffalo Bills will scoff at his money.
The Bills have spent and are tighter to the cap than the Bears, but they still need a guard and seem to like Bates. It seems hard to see the Bills letting him go for any reasonable offer. So, do the Chicago Bears really want to overpay him?
Should Chicago Bears overpay Ryan Bates?
The only way to sign Ryan Bates is to make an offer that the Buffalo Bills cannot swallow. That will take guts and strong belief considering Ryan Bates has four career starts and 575 career snaps. It is pretty dishonest to project off of those four starts that he will be better or at the very least as good as this. James Daniels has 3,321 career snaps. That is about six times as many as Ryan Bates.
Bates may be good, but many linemen can jump in for four starts and not fall apart. Sam Mustipher earned a starting role last season based on seven starts. His sample was similar, but we saw once he was an every-week starter what happened. It is about consistency and being able to log 1,000 snaps of quality play. Bates has been in the NFL for four seasons and is nowhere near a snap count that can even be considered large enough to have a strong understanding of what he is.
The Bills obviously like his upside, which is why they tendered him and gave themselves a shot to match his contract. Still, they let him test his market because they trust that no team is going to break the bank and make a crazy offer just to sign a guy with four starts over four seasons.
The Chicago Bears are desperate for offensive line help and Ryan Bates would be a great addition. Still, the thought that the Bears should pay him like a legitimate starter to make sure that the Bills lose a depth lineman seems like a lot. The Bears can make Bates a quality offer and at least force the Bills to sweat or pay Bates what he is worth. Still, overpaying for this type of question mark is not the way to start your tenure.