Bengals: Jessie Bates gets respect from NFL Top 100
By Kristen Wong
Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates got a nod on the NFL 100 list, where NFL players themselves vote for the best in the league going into the 2021 season.
Bates ranked 90th overall, gaining the much-deserved respect of his colleagues. It was pointed out that Bates set personal records in “almost every pass coverage category including allowed completions, pass break-ups, allowed touchdowns and opposing QB rating” in 2020.
Hopefully this ranking helps Bates justify his worth and persuades the Bengals to extend his contact, but so far, it doesn’t look too promising.
Bates is currently in the final year of his rookie contract and could be set for one of the best seasons in Cincinnati.
Paired with Vonn Bell to create an intimidating safety duo, Bates plans to pick up exactly where he left off: in 2020, he recorded a career-high 15 passes defended, three interceptions, and 109 combined tackles. 78 of those tackles were solo, which was tied for the 11th most in the league.
The 24-year-old safety has been ridiculously consistent during his time on the Bengals, starting and playing all 16 games of each of the last three seasons.
That’s why the holdup with his contract extension is that much more frustrating.
Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates breaks into NFL 100 list
Bates has made an immediate impact from the start, when he finished Year 1 ranked as the 11th best safety in the NFL according to PFF. He’s never once said he wants to leave the franchise, only wants to get paid what he’s due.
In a press conference last Thursday, Bates was shamelessly honest in talking about his current contract negotiations:
"I think as far as my contract goes, I guess I haven’t done enough yet to be considered one of the top safeties in this league, which is fine… I’m going to be the best teammate, the best leader that I can be for the 2021 Bengals. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens."
“We’ll see what happens” almost never ends well, but in Bates’ case, there isn’t much to be done.
He’s clearly garnered the respect of fellow NFL players and Cincinnati shouldn’t have to think twice about extending his contract.
While there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between Bates and the Bengals at the moment, the lack of a stable future in Cincinnati probably leaves a sour taste in Bates’ mouth.
He can feel proud of himself for making the NFL 100 list, but at the end of the day, he just wants respect from his own franchise. We’ll see if they give it to him.