The Bears matched the three-year $2.85 million offer by the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday, April 3, to retain the services of their restricted free agent who caught a career-high nine passes for 160 yards and one touchdown last season.
Chicago tried to renegotiate a more cap friendly first year of the deal, which called for Bates to make $1.1 million. After contract talks broke down the Bears decided to cut Bates.
The main objective in matching the Vikings offer was to keep Bates from playing for a division rival. Whether the attempt works remains to be seen. Bates will be eligible to be claimed off waivers on Tuesday, April 9 following a 72-hour waiting period. The Vikings are now in seventh position to get him back, having to wait to see if Houston, Carolina, Detroit, Buffalo, San Diego or Dallas places a claim on him. Waived players are available to all other NFL teams in inverse order of their record. The team that claims Bates will assume terms of the offer sheet he signed with Minnesota.
A product of Northwestern, Bates owns 15 receptions for 221 yards and one touchdown in three seasons with the Chicago. The native of Aiken, S.C. was originally drafted by the Bears in the third round (71st overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.