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2022 NFL Free Agency: Ryan Bates intends to sign with Bears, Bills have five days

The Bills won’t receive any compensation if he leaves

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills will have five days to match the offer the Chicago Bears are planning on signing with Restricted Free Agent Ryan Bates. The agreement was reported by Brad Briggs, but no details were available and no timetable for that actual agreement was set, either.

The Bills tendered Bates at the lowest RFA amount, meaning they receive nothing if he is signed away since he was undrafted.

During the first two years of his career with the Bills, 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.

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.

Buffalo parted ways with former starting guards Daryl Williams and Jon Feliciano last week. They have Rodger Saffold on a one-year deal and Cody Ford finishes his rookie contract this year, as well. That’s a pretty thin guard position without Bates.