Bears Release Bates, Saga Weirder

Thanks to the brain wizards with the Chicago Bears, the name of D'Wayne Bates just keeps on coming up in Vikings circles.

For the past few days, VU has been following the saga of D'Wayne Bates with skepticism bordering on incredulous indignation.

First, the Chicago Bears said they could handle matching the Vikings' offer on Bates. Then, the word came out that, since the Bears would have a hard time matching the offer with the stipulations in the offer sheet, they would allow him to go for the Vikings. Then, the Bears did an about face and matched the offer -- with the cryptic claim of looking to re-work the deal after meeting the requirements of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

Late Thursday night, it simply looks like the Bears don't want Bates to end up with the Vikings. After failing to work out a deal with Bates, the Bears released him Thursday, using the rationale as being that he wouldn't renegotiate a contract he had worked out with the Vikes.

So he's coming back, right? Not necessarily. Because Bates was put on waivers, 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.

While it is doubtful that Detroit, Buffalo or Dallas will make a claim on the three-year veteran, there is a possibility Houston, Carolina or San Diego could scoop him up, which could leave the Vikings out in the cold.

As it turned out, the Vikings attempted to prevent exactly what the Bears tried to pull off. In the offer sheet for Bates, the Vikings put in a clause that kicked in a $550,000 roster bonus the third business day after it took effect, which would have been today. Secondly, the Vikings added a no-trade stipulation in the deal that was in effect for five days, meaning Chicago couldn't match the offer and trade Bates away before the cap-related bonus kicked in.

Instead, the Bears simply released Bates and, if he clears waivers, he can now sign for any team at any price. With the Vikings coaches out of town, VU was unable to reach Mike Tice Thursday night to see if the Vikes will place a waiver claim on Bates, but it is clear that the intent of the Bears was simply to keep him from becoming a Viking, which, while apparently legal under NFL rules, shows little to no loyalty to the best interests of Bates and yet another example that G.M. Jerry Angelo was only trying to make up for the team's clerical error that didn't allow the Bears compensation for Bates had he been signed in another fashion.

VU is attempting to confirm a report that the Bears tried to trade Bates back to the Vikings for a seventh-round draft choice, apparently a face-saving measure of some kind, and will follow up on this story as more information becomes available.

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