There’s a new Chicago Bear in town! As yesterday evening wound down, Ryan Poles sent a 5th round pick to Buffalo to get IOL Ryan Bates, the same Ryan Bates that Poles tried to sign to an RFA tender just two offseasons ago.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) March 5, 2024
Bates brings with him athleticism (check RAS below) and experience at all three interior positions, most recently working at Center. Does that mean he’s Chicago’s future starting Center? Or is he a depth handcuff for Teven Jenkins (health) and Nate Davis (health & poor play)? We’ll find out next year, but either way I think the move works.
Cost wise, a 5th round pick isn’t nothing… but it’s not worth making a meal over either. The Bears’ latest 5th round pick (Noah Sewell) played a grand total of 27 defensive snaps as a rookie last year, a reminder of how hard it is for late-round rookies to contribute on the field quickly.
Assuming that Bates is slated for either the OL’s premiere backup role or a starting position at Center, this move suggests to me that Ryan Poles has prioritized the upcoming 2024 season — given Bates’ cheap 2-year contract, I can get behind that. Regardless of whether the front office rolls with the incumbent Justin Fields or a newly-drafted rookie QB, Chicago has lost the privilege of betting the health of their line’s interior on an inconsistent right-guard, an oft-injured left guard, and what is currently a gaping hole in the line’s center.