Chicago Bears News: Ryan Bates acquired from Buffalo Bills

The Chicago Bears are acquiring a former free agency target.

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Nearly two years after signing Buffalo Bills' offensive lineman Ryan Bates to a four-year offer sheet that was ultimately matched by the Bills, the Chicago Bears will be acquiring the veteran offensive lineman.

The Bears are sending 2024 fifth-round pick to the Bills for Bates.

Bates has a salary cap hit of $5.4MM in each of the next two seasons before becoming an unrestricted free agent after the 2025 season.

After the release of veteran Cody Whitehair last month and the likelihood of the Bears not bringing back Lucas Patrick, the Bears offensive line was likely to be addressed this off-season.

After starting 15 games for the Bills during the 2022 season, Bates was limited to a reserve role last season but did appear in all 17 games of the regular season.

The Chicago Bears begin restructuring their offensive line with a former free agency target.

It's worth noting that Bates does have experience at the center position. Bates took 135 snaps at the center position during the 2022 season. Center was expected to be a position that the Bears were going to address in free agency. The thinking behind that speculation was that the Bears wanted to provide a rookie quarterback such as Caleb Williams with a veteran center.

Given the experience that Bates also has at the right guard position, it's not out of the question that there may be a Training Camp competition with Nate Davis. Davis struggled in the first year of a three-year deal with the Bears, leading many to suggest that the Bears may be in the market for an upgrade this off-season.

Otherwise, a fifth-round pick in the current year's draft is a steep price to pay for a veteran who would serve as nothing more than a swing guard. One scenario could have Bates start the season as the team's center before stepping aside for a rookie who is selected by the team in April's draft.

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