It Turns Out the Bills *ARE* Matching the Bears’ Offer Sheet For OL Ryan Bates (UPDATES)

The Bears might’ve had a solid plan going into free agency, but the execution has been anything but pristine.

And the latest domino to fall comes in the form of the Bills reportedly matching the offer sheet for restricted free agent offensive lineman Ryan Bates. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has the details:

Ugggghhhh. You’ve gotta be kidding me.

There was a belief going into the weekend that the Bills wouldn’t match the offer sheet. And as recently as this morning, the Bills were weighing their options but sounding like they were preparing to see him go. But that isn’t how the cookie crumbled. And now the Bears are left with a mess.

Bates made so much sense as a Bears target. A young player at a position of need with positional flexibility, prior starting experience, and possible untapped upside that could be unlocked with an increase in playing time. And the Bears made sense as a fit for him too, too. Especially after the Bills’ signing of Roger Saffold to plug into a guard spot on Buffalo’s offensive line. Instead, Bates and the Bills re-connect on what is a four-year pact to stay in Buffalo. A four-year deal is pretty aggressive, so I’ll give the Bears that much. But a miss is still a miss. And it’s back to the drawing board.

UPDATE (2:10 p.m. CT) — The reported numbers of the offer sheet are in, via the Trib’s Brad Biggs. And while that was, indeed, a competitive offer, it sure as heck wasn’t enough to keep the Bills from matching.

 

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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