During the 2020 season, Ike Boettger started seven games (plus the playoffs) for the Buffalo Bills at guard and solidified himself as a bona fide contender for the starting job heading into the 2021 season. During the 2021 season, Ryan Bates started four games (plus the playoffs) and solidified himself as a bona fide contender for the starting job heading into the 2022 season.
Boettger was a Restricted Free Agent and the Bills tagged him with the right of first refusal (he was an undrafted free agent), paying him $2.133 million. He started ten games for them, playing in 15, before an Achilles injury ended his season.
It would stand to reason, then, that the Bills would take a similar approach to their guard position in 2022, tagging Bates on an RFA deal with the right of first refusal (he, too, was an undrafted free agent). That contract would pay Bates slightly more—an estimated $2.433 million per Over the Cap.
The second-round tender would net the Bills a draft pick if someone else signed Bates, but if would also put him in the top half of NFL starters at guard. The $4 million salary would be in the top 32 guard salaries, per Spotrac. In 2021, only three free-agent guards signed for more than $3.5 million, so it would put him on a pretty high pedestal in terms of free agency dollars.
People like Bates and the Bills’ offensive line was better with him in it than it was before he took over, but Bills general manager Brandon Beane has been judicious with his contracts, and he showed you a road map to retaining Bates last offseason with Ike Boettger.
- All-22 Review: Jon Feliciano
- All-22 Review: Cody Ford
- All-22 Review: Daryl Williams
- All-22 Review: Ryan Bates
- Salary cap savings if they cut Jon Feliciano
- Contract restructure more likely than salary cap cut for Daryl Williams
- What will Ryan Bates make on the open market?
- Ike Boettger’s 2021 RFA tag gives insight on Ryan Bates situation
- Free-agent OGs for the Bills to consider
- 2022 NFL Draft options at guard
- Opinion: Here’s Bruce’s multi-layered approach to the interior offensive line this offseason