Sad News:The Chicago Bears have reached an agreement with the Buffalo Bills to acquire Ryan Bates, with the move subject to a successful physical examination…

Although the NFL’s new league year is still a week away, Chicago Bears’ General Manager Ryan Poles has already made a significant move to boost his team. The Bears announced on Monday that they have agreed to a trade with the Buffalo Bills, sending a 2024 fifth-round pick in exchange for offensive lineman Ryan Bates. This deal is contingent upon Bates passing a physical examination.

Bates, 27, has played five seasons in the NFL, all with the Buffalo Bills. Throughout his career, he has appeared in 73 games and has started 19 times. The Bears previously attempted to sign him in 2022 with a four-year offer sheet, but the Bills matched it, keeping him through the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Bates has experience at both guard spots as well as at center. He could be in the mix to take over as the starting center this season, a big need for the Bears going into 2024. In 2023, Bates played 35 total snaps for the Bills, all at center. In 2022, he played a total of 947 snaps with 810 at right guard and 137 at center.
Rob Gronkowski is contemplating whether to return for another NFL season, and if he does, it may not necessarily be with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as noted by Bills beat writer Matt Parrino. Gronkowski, who became a free agent after his one-year, $10 million deal with the Buccaneers expired, might consider joining the Buffalo Bills, according to NFL reporter Michael Silver.

Silver reported last year that before Gronkowski re-signed with the Buccaneers, he had considered a similar offer from the Bills, his hometown team. “Before re-signing with the Bucs, Rob Gronkowski considered a similar offer from the Bills,” Silver noted. “I’d expect the Bills to add a tight end at some point.”

Growing up in Williamsville, New York, near the Buffalo area, Gronkowski could find the idea of playing for the Bills appealing due to the proximity to his hometown. As a first-time free agent, Gronkowski has expressed interest in exploring his options, potentially opening the door to a stint with the Bills or other teams.
Last spring, Rob Gronkowski mentioned to NFL Network analyst Kyle Brandt that he was curious about exploring free agency and the opportunities it could bring.

“I definitely want to be back with the Buccaneers. That’s where my eyesight is. That’s where I’m leaning toward, big time,” Gronkowski said during an interview with Brandt on the “10 Questions” podcast. “But with the free agency process, you just never know what may happen. There are some other teams interested out there, too. I’ve also never been a part of the free agency process, so I actually want to dip my toes in, just to see what’s out there.”

Gronkowski’s comments suggest a desire to stay with the Buccaneers, but he also hinted at the excitement of exploring other potential opportunities during his first venture into free agency.
Gronkowski caught 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns this season as one of the NFL’s most productive tight ends. Gronkowski tweeted this week that he was undecided on his 2022 plans.

“What a ride it’s been. Grateful to the Bucs for giving me an opportunity to play another year,” Gronkowski tweeted. “To my teammates, thank you for giving everything you had. The sweat we shed & memories made will never be forgotten

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