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Bills Re-Sign OL Ryan Bates & Ike Boettger

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The Buffalo Bills have just re-signed OL Ike Boettger to a one-year deal and have matched the Chicago Bears’ offer sheet on RFA Ryan Bates, according to multiple reports. Brad Briggs of The Chicago Tribune is reporting it’s a 4-year, $17 million deal for Bates.

Boettger has been with the Bills since 2018 and has always been a solid depth player before taking over as the team’s starting left guard in Week 7 last season. However, he ruptured his left Achilles tendon during Week 16, so he still has a long recovery ahead of him. He started 10 out of the 15 games he played this past season, allowing just one sack and taking two penalties. PFF gave him a grade of 59.8.

Bates took over for Boettger after the Week 16 injury and made the Bills offensive line visibly better. PFF gave him a grade of 64.3 as he did not allow a sack and took one penalty. Buffalo acquired Bates from the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2019 preseason for LB Eli Harold. (He was signed by the Eagles as un undrafted free agent in May 2019.) One of Bates’ best attributes is his versatility; he has experience at all five positions on the line.

What these signings mean going forward

As of now, here is the Bills projected starting offensive line:

  • LT Dion Dawkins
  • LG Roger Saffold
  • C Mitch Morse
  • RG Ryan Bates
  • RT Spencer Brown

Some reports suggest that Boettger could be ready to go in 6-9 months (between June and September), depending how rehab goes. But BF’s very own Thigh Doctor says that the average time of recovery for an Achilles tear is 11 months. Either way, look for Boettger to start the season on the PUP list.

The Bills filled another big hole today by bringing back Bates and Boettger. However, they could still use another guard to replace Saffold next year. Fortunately, there’s plenty of OL depth on day two or three of the draft. By solidifying their five starting offensive linemen, the chances of the Bills drafting either a cornerback or a wide receiver in round one have just greatly increased.

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