However, when Chicago tendered Bates an offer of $563,000 at the outset of free agency, the team made a mistake on paperwork that needed to be filed with the league. As a result, they lost the rights to compensation for Bates and starting outside linebacker Warrick Holdman, who is also a restricted free agent and was a fourth-round pick in 1999.
Teams have until April 15 to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets. Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo said he is considering matching the offer for Bates.
Minnesota plans to use Bates as a third receiver behind Randy Moss and Chris Walsh. With the Bears, Bates would have to battle 2001 receiving leader Marty Booker, Marcus Robinson, Dez White and David Terrell for playing time.
In other news, the Bears are still in hot pursuit of journeyman quarterback Chris Chandler, 36, who was released by Atlanta following the season.
"We made an offer to him, and that offer was made over the weekend," Angelo said. "His agent was out of town for the weekend, and we talked with his assistant. We brought (Chandler) in. It was a feel-good on his part as well as ours.
"I'm anticipating we're going to hear from him in the next 48 hours."