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2022 NFL salary cap: What will Ryan Bates command on the open market?

It could be substantial

The Buffalo Bills inserted Ryan Bates into the lineup late in the 2021 regular season and didn’t look back, benching their other guards when healthy and allowing the former UDFA to continue justifying his spot in the starting lineup. Now Bates is a Restricted Free Agent, and the Bills have some decisions to make.

An RFA tender at his original round wouldn’t net any draft pick compensation for Buffalo, but they would get the chance to match the deal. In order to even get that, they would need to tender him at a one-year, $2.433 million contract. If Buffalo wanted a draft pick for him, they would need to offer him nearly $4 million in salary for 2022 and receive a second-round pick if he signed elsewhere.

Bates played 25% of Buffalo’s snaps in the regular season and 100% of the snaps in the postseason. If you’re going to re-sign him, it’s at borderline starter money. The state of play in the NFL on the offensive line is not good, and Bates is going to get money from someone.

Last year, I bristled at Levi Wallace and Isaiah McKenzie getting the RFA tender salary because I didn’t think either would get that on the open market. (Neither of them did.) I think Bates will. If they want to keep him, Buffalo should tender him at the $2.433 million and not tinker trying to save a couple hundred thousand dollars. That being said, he’s too unproven for a multi-year deal in Western New York.

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