Bates, a 25-year-old guard, is reportedly highly-valued by the Bills. He’s been in their system as a former undrafted free agent since 2019. It was Assistant General Manager Ian Cunningham who initially brought Bates into the NFL when he was an executive with the Eagles. It appears this relationship proved critical as Bates also visited with the Patriots and Vikings in recent days but did not sign any of their offers.
Buffalo now has five days to match the Bears’ offer sheet (Tuesday, March 29). Should they not match the deal by the end of that period, Bates will become a Bear, and GM Ryan Poles will have one of his first major acquisitions. Note that the Bills do not have to eclipse the contract; they merely have to sign Bates to whatever the Bears offered. Chicago does not have to surrender any draft capital either — they need only honor the deal on the table for Bates.
Watch this space. If the Bills have cooled on one of their developmental projects, the Bears might have a new 25-year-old starting guard soon.