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Bills make Ryan Bates’ return official, matching Bears’ offer sheet

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The Bills sit atop the list of AFC win totals, and Chris Simms is riding the Buffalo hype train as Mike Florio stays optimistic about the Dolphins and Steelers.

The Bills announced the signings of offensive lineman Ryan Bates and running back and core special teamer Taiwan Jones. Both were previously reported.

The team made official Bates’ return by matching the offer sheet the restricted free agent since with the Bears last week.

“We kind of pondered that, worked through it,” General Manager Brandon Beane said, via Chris Brown of the team website. “We were tight on the cap, but we decided to bring Ryan back. It’s really important for us to be strong up front. Ryan’s a versatile player. He can actually play all five spots. But most importantly, he’s been a center-guard when he’s filled in, and we thought when he had his opportunity this year he did a heck of a job starting the last four regular season and then the two postseason games. It didn’t seem too big for him.”

Bates signed a four-year contract with Buffalo, the team announced.

Bates will compete for a starting guard role, but he also is expected to serve as Mitch Morse’s backup at center with Jon Feliciano no longer on the roster.

Bates, a former undrafted college free agent signing of the Eagles, was acquired by the Bills via a 2019 trade for defensive end Eli Harold.

Jones, who has 11 years of experience, including the past four with the Bills, played 71 percent of the team’s special teams snaps last season. He tied for fourth on the Bills in special teams tackles in 2021 qith eight and also recovered a fumble.