Bills stand to lose Bates after OL signs Bears' offer sheet

The Buffalo Bills stand to lose Ryan Bates after the offensive lineman agreed to sign an offer sheet to play for the Chicago Bears, a person with direct knowledge of the decision confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are private. The Chicago Tribune first reported the move earlier in the day.

Once the offer sheet is filed with the NFL, the Bills will have five days to match the Bears’ offer or lose Bates without compensation. A restricted free agent, Bates’ rights were retained by the Bills last week when the team tendered him a one-year, $2.433 million contract.

The value of the offer sheet was not revealed.

Buffalo has very limited space under its salary cap, which already counts Bates’ contract, and the team would have to free up additional space to match the Bears’ offer.

He’s a third-year player who went undrafted out of Penn State and was acquired by Buffalo in a trade that sent defensive end Eli Harold to the Philadelphia Eagles in August 2019. Noted for his versatility for being able to play each position, Bates appeared in 41 games, including four starts last season with the Bills.