Bears Trying to Steal Restricted Free Agent From Bills

Devon Platana
The Chicago Bears are trying to steal a restricted free agent away from the Buffalo Bills in free agency.
The Chicago Bears are trying to steal a restricted free agent away from the Buffalo Bills in free agency. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears entered the offseason with the goal of beginning a new era in the 2022 NFL season. One of the main priorities was to improve the offensive line and although they did add offensive guard Dakota Dozier last week, more improvements are needed.

It doesn't look like the Bears are done making offensive line additions. The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs reported Thursday that Buffalo Bills restricted free-agent offensive tackle Ryan Bates intends to sign an offer sheet with Chicago.

Bears Free Agency

Although Biggs didn't indicate when things could happen, the Bills have five days to decide if they want to match after Bates signs the offer sheet. Buffalo did tender Bates at the lowest level, meaning Chicago won't have to send any draft picks over if the former chooses not to match the deal.

What makes the situation more difficult for the Bills is that the Bears have much more cap space than them. Chicago has an estimated $24.4 million in cap space remaining, whereas Buffalo currently sit just above $2.5 million, according to Spotrac. If the Bears' offer is structured to be heavy in the first year, the Bills may not be able to match it.

Bates suited up in all 17 games for Buffalo last season, making four starts along the way. He didn't allow a single snap on 294 offensive snaps, which is appealing to a Chicago team that surrendered the most sacks (58) in the 2021 NFL season.

Beyond free agency, the Bears can also turn to the 2022 NFL Draft for more help fleshing out their roster. They'll certainly need it since oddsmakers still aren't viewing them as a threat, proven by FanDuel Sportsbook giving them +8000 odds (T-No. 24) to win Super Bowl LVII next season.

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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.