The Bears Are Hosting Restricted Free Agent OL Ryan Bates for a Visit Today

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The Bears Are Hosting Restricted Free Agent OL Ryan Bates for a Visit Today

Chicago Bears

As I write (and you read) this intro, the second wave of free agency signings is crashing upon our shores. Finally.

This means that business should start to pick up for the Chicago Bears. The second wave is a place new GM Ryan Poles has identified as a sweet spot for his organization this offseason — in part, because players passed over in the first wave will be especially motivated to find a team that could help re-establish their value next year in free agency. In short, this tier of free agents appears to be a place where teams can find upside in undervalued and overlooked players.

And one of those players who looks to check multiple boxes for Poles and the Bears, Ryan Bates, is set to visit Chicago:

I don’t want to overstate things when it comes to the Bears’ interests in Bates. After all, this is a restricted free agent with just six total starts (4 regular season, 2 playoffs) under his belt. Moreover, he has a grand total of just 454 offensive snaps over the last three years. But I can’t front. Bates has an interesting profile. And is someone who makes a ton of sense as a Bears target. That much we spoke of on Friday when Bates’ name first came onto our radar.

Bates, 25, is a young player whose arrow looks to be pointing up. He has positional versatility and could be only now starting to scratch the surface of what he can do. However, he needs a team that can give him a clear path to snaps to prove it over a full season. I think we know the Bears could provide just that! Plus, they can do so in a way that wouldn’t prevent them from drafting a lineman who might need some seasoning before getting thrown to the wolves. Sounds like a potential win-win scenario to me.

It is also worth noting that Bates’ restricted free agency means his signing in Chicago wouldn’t count against the compensatory draft pick formula. We’re probably too far down the road to think the Bears could be in a position to net a pick in 2023, but we can dream. Right? Secondly, if the Bears were to sign Bates, they wouldn’t need to send anything to Buffalo for compensation. In other words, all Buffalo can do is match an offer sheet, which Heather Prusak (AP) notes is worth $2.433 million. That isn’t much for a team like the Bears. Remember, they have more than $26 million in available cap space, per But that $2.4 million is a squeeze for a Bills team that is just $4,422,626 under the cap right now.

I don’t want to dive too deep on Bates just yet. After all, this is just a visit. For now. But it could move quickly. Just know that Bates has some real diamond-in-the-rough potential. And you can’t unearth any gems if you’re not willing to look and get your hands dirty. A visit to Chicago after leaving Minnesota and New England without a contract seems to bode well for the Bears’ chances. Hopefully, both sides can make good impressions and it leads to another offensive linemen coming to protect Justin Fields.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.