During the first two years of his career with the Buffalo Bills, Ryan Bates was known for his ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line, but outside of a Week 4 start, Bates didn’t log many meaningful snaps for the Bills.
That all changed in Week 15 when Bates, a former undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles, was inserted as Buffalo’s starting left guard for good.
Bates brought stability to the Bills’ offensive line, and his consistent play earned the praise of head coach Sean McDermott. Thanks in part to Bates’s presence, Buffalo rediscovered its success running the football down the stretch en route to clinching a second straight AFC East title.
Heading into the offseason, Bates was set to be a Restricted Free Agent when the 2022 NFL league year begins Wednesday afternoon. Bates made a strong case to be Buffalo’s starting left guard heading into the 2022 season, and on Monday, Heather Prusak of WIVB-4 TV in Buffalo reported that the Bills will offer Bates an original round tender ($2.433 million).
A source tells me the #Bills DO plan on low tendering RFA Ryan Bates ($2.433 million), just waiting on the team to make their official move. When it happens the #Bills can match any offer sheet Bates gets from another team. @news4buffalo— Heather Prusak (@haprusak) March 14, 2022
Because Bates went undrafted out of Penn State, the Bills have the right of first refusal and can match any offer sheet Bates may receive from another team during free agency.
The Bills certainly won the 2019 trade with the Eagles, when Buffalo shipped out journeyman linebacker Eli Harold in exchange for Bates. While Harold never played again with his new team, Bates emerged as a potential starter with the Bills last year and just turned 25 years old.
Bates played 25% of Buffalo’s snaps in the regular season, including at least 93% during the final three weeks of the regular season. In the playoffs, Bates took 100% of Buffalo’s snaps at left guard.
All told, Bates only committed one penalty last year, late in the third quarter of a Week 18 win over the New York Jets.
Keeping Bates in the fold makes sense for a Buffalo offensive line that on Monday parted ways with former starting right guard Daryl Williams in a move that saved the team $6.3 million while creating a hole along the offensive line.
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