Chicago Bears meeting with young free agent who could solve major need

Chicago Bears (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Many Chicago Bears fans continue to get themselves up in a frenzy watching general manager Ryan Poles allow plenty off offensive linemen to sign elsewhere.

However, Poles has remained calm and collected while sticking to his original plan. He did bring in former Green Bay Packers interior lineman Lucas Patrick, who will slot in as the starting center.

But, the Bears still have some needs at both tackle and guard. A good amount of free agents have signed elsewhere, but on Tuesday, the Bears could completely satisfy one of those needs.

Chicago is meeting with Buffalo Bills restricted free agent guard Ryan Bates, who has an interesting connection to the organization.

If the Chicago Bears signed Ryan Bates, their offensive line would immediately look to be in better shape.

Bates was an undrafted free agent just recently, back in 2019. Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham was director of college scouting with Philadelphia at that time, when the Eagles signed Bates.

He was later traded to Buffalo, but as an undrafted free agent, Bates has already made a name for himself in this league. As a rookie, he started eight games. However, the last two years, he has become a starter at both guard positions.

Last year, Bates earned a fair grade of 64.3 by Pro Football Focus while being tagged with just one penalty all year. If anything, he’s a disciplined player at just 25 years old. Bates could be a long-term solution for the Bears, if they played their cards right.

Bates is a restricted free agent, and the Bills tendered him at a $2.4 million cost. They can match any deal offered to him by another team, which means the Bears would likely have to overpay. Now, if “overpaying” is actually a fair deal in terms of how Poles has evaluated Bates, then it’s a no-brainer.

The Bears have Teven Jenkins slotted in as a long-term starter, hopefully sticking at tackle. With Patrick and Cody Whitehair locked in as starters, the Bears could be down to needing just one more starter if they signed Bates — and that’s assuming the Bears do not decide to roll the dice on starting Larry Borom at the other tackle position.

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Again, Bates’ meeting with the Bears happens today. Depending on how it goes, he may not leave Chicago without an offer on the table. Then, it would be up to Buffalo to match or let him walk.