PALM BEACH, Fla. — New Bears general manager Ryan Poles had high hopes for Bills offensive lineman Ryan Bates when he signed him to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent last week, but he’ll have to move on to contingency plans.
The Bills matched Poles’ four-year offer to keep Bates, 25, on Monday. They had until Tuesday night and hadn’t given the Bears any indication of their intentions.
“Yeah, it stinks,” Poles said. “But that’s a part of the RFA process. We’ll adjust and keep adding players. It’s out of your control. You put your best foot forward... and we came strong, and that’s given back to that team if they want to match it.”
Bates likely would’ve competed for a guard spot. He played all 17 games for the Bills last season, including four starts. While he got just 25% of the offensive snaps, it’s clear the Bills agree with Poles that Bates is trending upwardly.
“Ryan’s a really good player and really good person,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Monday morning, before general manager Brandon Beane made the decision public. “He’s meant a lot to our football team, whether he was in a backup role or starting role. He’s been a valuable piece of our team.”