What Are the Implications of the Ryan Bates Offer Sheet?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune discusses the signing of Bills guard Ryan Bates to an offer sheet.

General manager Ryan Poles has pledged to upgrade the offensive line, and the Bears signed Green Bay Packers interior offensive lineman Lucas Patrick to a two-year, $8 million deal. They also signed veteran Dakota Dozier to a one-year contract. Patrick said he expects to play center.

The Bears need to replace right guard James Daniels, who left for the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency, and have to determine a plan at left tackle. Adding Bates would give them a potential starter at guard.

A few thoughts here.

  1. The Bills have about $49,120 in cap space according to overthecap.com. They tendered Bates at $2.433 million. So the Bears might be offering something in that area per year or a bit more over 2 or 3 years. The deal would almost certainly have to be front loaded to make it difficult for the Bills to make space to match.
  2. I think that it’s interesting that the Bears are concentrating on the interior of the offensive line. That might be because good young tackles are hard to find in free agency. But it makes me wonder what the plan is at the position. Are the happy with the tackles that they have? Or will they address the position in the draft? I have to think the latter. Certainly Tevin Jenkins and Larry Borom did not show enough last year to make anyone confident that they will fill the two positions adequately. And I’m unsure of how they fit into the new outside zone blocking scheme, especially Borom.
  3. On a related note, I’m unsure of what all this activity at guard and center means for Cody Whitehair. Whitehair is still young but he’s paid good money. That’s because former GM Ryan Pace out an emphasis in the position. He followed the New Orleans model of sinking the salary cap into good guards to keep the pocket clean and allow the quarterback to step up. But Poles may feel differently about the matter and may prefer to pay his offensive tackles. Its possible that these signings will all compete for two available spots on the interior of the line. But, having said that, could Whitehair be traded for draft picks? Or could he be moved to tackle, a position that he played in college? These questions are worth considering.

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