Trading for Ryan Bates was a smart move for Bears
Bob DeChiara - USA Today Sports

Trading for Ryan Bates was a smart move for Bears

by - Correspondent -

On Monday night, the Chicago Bears traded a fifth-round pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft for offensive lineman Ryan Bates, who they previously tried to acquire back in 2022.

The trade will become official once the new league year starts on March 13 and after he passes a physical.

So far this offseason, Chicago has released Cody Whitehair with guards Lucas Patrick and Dan Freeney set to become free agents. Despite this draft class being strong with offensive line prospects, those are still a lot of holes to fill without making other moves prior to the draft. The Bears needed to be aggressive in pursuing an offensive lineman in the offseason, and it would not be surprising if they were to do that again via another trade or free agency.

With Ryan Bates specifically, general manager Ryan Poles and the Bears attempted to acquire Him back in 2022. This means there is something specific about Bates that Poles and the Bears want on their team, even with his down season in 2023, when he did not start a single game. He did, however, start all 15 games he played in back in 2022.

Overall, in 2023, as the Bills' center, his Pro Football Focus grade was 78.7, which is significantly higher than Patrick (50.5) and Feeney (44.8) were last season.

Bates is a versatile player with the potential to play all five positions on the offensive line, although he does have the most experience at right guard and center. Since Nate Davis, the highest-paid offensive lineman on the Bears, was primarily at right guard last season, Bates could be playing at center for the Bears as he had been for the Buffalo Bills for the past two seasons.

The Bears would then have Teven Jenkins at left guard, Darnell Wright at right tackle and Braxton Jones at left tackle.

The addition of Bates, therefore, helps to solidify the offensive line more going into next season, as well as creating some much needed depth for the line overall. Chicago could definitely look to upgrade at the left tackle position, which they could easily do through the draft with their No. 9 overall draft pick with a player such as Olumuyima Fashanu from Penn State.

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