NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have added a player from the Buffalo Bills via trade right before the start of free agency next week. Monday night, the Bills announced that they are sending offensive lineman Ryan Bates to Chicago in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

This trade cannot become official until the New League Year on March 13, and the transaction is pending Bates' physical. What's interesting is that the Bears actually tried to poach Bates last offseason after Buffalo placed a restricted tender on the interior offensive lineman. However, Buffalo matched the offer -- which was a four-year deal. Now, the Bears get Bates on the deal they initially offered. 

"We kind of pondered that, worked through it," Bills general manager Brandon Beane said last April, per their official website. "We were tight on the cap, but we decided to bring Ryan back. It's really important for us to be strong up front. Ryan's a versatile player. He can actually play all five spots. But most importantly he's been a center-guard when he's filled in and we thought when he had his opportunity this year he did a heck of a job starting the last four regular season and then the two postseason games. It didn't seem too big for him."

Bates originally went undrafted out of Penn State in 2019, and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he never played for Philly, and was instead traded to the Bills prior to the 2019 season.

Bates played eight games for Buffalo in 2019 and 16 games in 2020, but never started. He found his way into the starting lineup in 2021 for a handful of games, but then started in all 15 games played in 2022. Last season, Bates played in all 17 games with 35 snaps at center, but did not start. He registered a 78.7 overall grade at PFF.

In Bates, the Bears clearly see versatility. In his five NFL seasons, Bates has taken snaps at all five positions on the offensive front.