NFL

Bills match Bears' offer sheet for OL Bates

By Sports Desk March 29, 2022

The Buffalo Bills have decided to match the offer sheet offensive lineman Ryan Bates signed with the Chicago Bears.

AFC East champions the Bills had until Tuesday to decide whether they would ensure they kept the restricted free agent.

To do so, they had to match the Bears' four-year contract offer, which reportedly includes two fully guaranteed years at the start of the deal.

Guard Bates, who also had free-agent visits with the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, will now remain with the Bills.

The 25-year-old joined Buffalo in a 2019 trade from the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We have kind of pondered that and worked through it – obviously we are tight on the cap, but we are going to bring Ryan back," Bills general manager Brandon Beane confirmed.

"It's really important for us to be strong up front, both lines. Ryan's a versatile player. He can actually play all five spots, but most importantly, he's been a center, guard he's filled in.

"We thought when he had his opportunity this year, he did a heck of a job starting the last four regular-season games and then the two postseason games. 

"It didn't seem too big for him. You want to keep as many of those key pieces, he knows our system. He obviously knows [quarterback] Josh Allen."

Bears GM Ryan Poles was frustrated, saying: "I just found that out. 

"It stinks. But that's part of the RFA process. So we'll adjust and we'll keep adding players. It's out of your control."

The Bills, who are rated as the early Super Bowl favourites, also brought back offensive lineman Ike Boettger after agreeing a one-year deal.

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