It appears one of the top candidates for an offer sheet this offseason is Bills guard Ryan Bates. The restricted free agent has visited with the Vikings, reports Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter).
Bates, 25, was given an original-round tender by the Bills earlier this week, valued at $2.433MM. As a former UDFA, the Bills would be able to match any potential offers he receives. That could become very relevant, as Tommasson notes that the Vikings “have interest in extending an offer sheet”, after their meeting with Bates reportedly went well.
He adds that Bates has visits scheduled for next week with the Patriots and Bears. The Penn State product was a backup during the first two of his three seasons in the league, as well as much of the 2021 campaign. However, he stepped in as the starting left guard in Week 15, and never looked back.
In his 294 snaps played this year, PFF credits Bates with no sacks allowed and only one penalty committed. His ability to help fortify the Bills’ offensive front has generated not only a desire for Buffalo to hang on to him, but also plenty of outside interest, clearly.
After his visits with New England and Chicago – and any others which take place – there should be more clarity on what other teams are willing to offer him, and how far the Bills are willing to go to match.