The Bills Are “Working Through” the Bears’ Offer Sheet for Ryan Bates (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The Bills are matching the offer sheet. So that sucks. Original post follows.

Tom Petty’s “The Waiting” is an all-time favorite song for me. And not just because of the flawlessly executed bit on The Simpsons, either.

Whenever I have to play the waiting game for anything, the ditty plays in my head on loop. As one might expect, it was in my head all weekend as the Bears still find themselves waiting on the Bills to make a decision on the offer sheet restricted free agent Ryan Bates signed with Chicago last week. The waiting is the hardest part, Mr. Petty. And by the sounds of it, Buffalo’s brass seems likely to push it to the limit.

The Tribune’s Brad Biggs reports the Bills are still “working through” their end of the decision:

Ugh. Decline it, you monsters. We’re so down bad for a “win” that we’re rooting for the Bears to sign an offensive linemen with six career starts — all of which came last year, with two coming in the postseason. C’mon, now. Give us this.

Biggs makes an astute observation above, noting that teams generally match offer sheets quickly when the intent is to keep the player. And it is an important one to keep in mind as we navigate through this journey, which has a 3 p.m. CT deadline on Tuesday.

Through that lens, I can understand why the Bears would be optimistic that the Bills won’t match. Remember, the vibes going into the weekend were that Buffalo wouldn’t match Chicago’s offer sheet. This isn’t to say the Bills couldn’t match it. That the Buffalo contingent maintains publicly that they’re trying to work through the situation suggests they could be exhausting every avenue in an attempt to bring Bates back. As a reminder, this Bills are $49,120 over the cap, per OverTheCap.com. And while they could find a way to make things work because of how teams treat the cap like it is a myth, I’m hoping Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott talking about Bates in the past-tense is a sign they won’t match.

In the end, this could simply be nothing more than posturing to make folks sweat it out at Halas Hall. And if that is the case, I tip my cap for the gamesmanship. I’m totally here for it. But on the off chance that this isn’t a ploy, well, you know … let’s not try to cross that bridge until we get to it.

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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