Bills Trade OL Ryan Bates To Bears

After signing Ryan Bates to an offer sheet back in 2022, the Bears have finally got their guy. The team announced that they’ve acquired the offensive lineman in a trade with the Bills. Chicago will be sending Buffalo a 2024 fifth-round pick. Pending a physical, the deal will become official on March 13. Buffalo will designate this a standard – rather than post-June 1 – move, per The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.

The 2019 undrafted free agent out of Penn State has spent the majority of his professional career in Buffalo, appearing in 73 games across five seasons. Bates served primarily as a backup/special teamer through his first two seasons in the NFL, but following a 2021 campaign where he got into about 25 percent of his team’s offensive snaps, the guard/center became a popular name in restricted free agency.

After being slapped with the restricted free agent tender, Bates found a suitor in the Bears, who inked the lineman to an offer sheet. The Bills ultimately matched the offer, signing Bates to a new four-year, $17MM deal.

Bates quickly helped validate Buffalo’s decision. He started all 15 of his appearances for the Bills in 2022, with Pro Football Focus ultimately grading him as a middle-of-the-road lineman. However, he found himself back on the bench this past season. With center Mitch Morse, right guard O’Cyrus Torrence, and left guard Connor McGovern not missing a start, Bates was limited to a career-low 35 offensive snaps.

The 27-year-old was destined for a backup role once again in 2024, and with a $5.5MM cap hit, it seemed unlikely the Bills would keep him around. Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News points out that Bates also wanted to start, and he’ll likely have that opportunity in Chicago.

Bates’ ability to play all over the offensive line should afford him a role in Chicago. For the time being, he’ll likely be the assumed starter at center with Lucas Patrick hitting unrestricted free agency.

View Comments (20)