Bengals: When is the best time to strike a deal with Jessie Bates?

Jul 28, 2021; Cincinnati, OH, United States; Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) runs drills during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2021; Cincinnati, OH, United States; Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) runs drills during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Bengals have been critically panned for not extending star safety Jessie Bates’ contract up until this point. They could just be waiting for a more financially advantageous moment. Maybe?

Right now, the Bengals are $7,396,493 over the cap according to With that said, they will have an estimated $16,973,507 in cap space once the final roster is set.

The Bengals could be currently operating as if their cap hit is at the $-7,396,493 mark. If this is the case, once the final roster is announced, they will be able to revisit the Bates’ contract situation. If we were to look at the recent Jamal Adams extension with the Seattle Seahawks, the Bengals could give Bates a signing bonus of around $20 to $21 million with $38M guaranteed.

That would put Bates’ cap hit for this year at five or six million. That would mean the current cap would go to $-13M, at which point, the Bengals may feel they have to force the issue when it comes to the salary cap. This could mean releasing a player they do not want to or not pursuing a free agent or waiver wire pickup after the final cuts are announced.

When should the Bengals extend Jessie Bates?

Even after the final 53 is revealed, we know that the roster will not be set until opening day. Perhaps a trade will occur. Also, there will be players from other teams released whom the Bengals will be interested in. For example, the team could conceivably be in search of a pass rusher depending on the Joseph Ossai and Cam Sample injuries.

It is also possible that a player, no matter the position, becomes available who the team deems too good to let pass through waivers after other teams reduce their rosters.

If either of these scenarios were to occur, the team would need to be flexible as possible with the cap to acquire someone.

There is also the question of how much cash the Bengals have at their disposal. Any money associated with guaranteed money has to be put aside, in escrow. If the team does not have $38M in the couch cushions, they will have to wait.

Wait, or come up with workarounds that get Bates and his representatives where they want to be without having to put so much into escrow. This could mean offering more workout bonuses or a roster bonus for next year which could free up cash and still get Bates to the number he is looking for.

The Bengals could make a “business decision” when it comes to a spot or two on the roster to help free up some cap space (and cash) to push Bates’ contract to the point it needs to be.

But, the Bengals have to get to that point without burning any bridges beforehand.

Or, the Bengals could proceed as they currently are. Let Bates play this year and franchise him in 2022. That will cost the team around $11M next year. They could even do what the Denver Broncos did with Justin Simmonds and franchise Bates in back-to-back years.

That would definitely solve any cash flow issues if such problems exist. It could unfortunately alienate the star player and his representatives which could have future repercussions.

Usually, the Bengals like to have cap space available because of injuries and/or just to have the flexibility to maneuver no matter what the reason is. However, if they come close to the almost $17M mark as predicted by Spotrac or even the $16.4M as projected by Over The Cap, that would still leave the team with nine to ten million dollars in cap space after a Bates extension.

Maybe the Bengals do have enough cash lying around to do a new deal with Bates, but they are waiting until the final salary cap numbers to reveal themselves before re-upping him.

Next. Observations from Preseason Loss to WFT. dark

The organization will have two weeks after the final preseason game to get a deal done with Bates. If it does not happen by then, it more than likely will not happen until next year’s offseason.