The beginning of Bengals free agency is inching closer and one big name to watch from this team is safety, Jessie Bates. Cincinnati entered the season without agreeing on an extension for their star safety and he went on to have his worst regular season with the team.
Fortunately, Bates showed up when it mattered most, playing out of his freaking mind in the playoffs. He had a key interception in the Super Bowl that should have allowed his team to be in a better position but Vernon Hargreaves happened, unfortunately.
Even still, Bates’ contributions in the playoffs can’t go unrewarded. The Bengals need to do what they can to keep him in the Queen City moving forward and Arjun Menon of Pro Football Focus has them doing just that.
Menon made predictions as to where the top 50 free agents would land and Bates, who was 11th on the list, was predicted to stick with Cincinnati but on the franchise tag.
"The Bengals are expected to franchise tag Bates despite efforts to agree to an extension last offseason. Bates’ grades took a hit in 2021, as he recorded a 65.7 PFF grade and a 67.4 coverage grade during the regular season. However, since coverage play can be streaky,Bates could certainly return to his 2020 form, when he recorded a 90.1 PFF grade."
Bengals Free Agency: Will Jessie Bates be slapped with the franchise tag?
Ahead of the 2021 season, Sam Hubbard, who had recently been extended, said he wanted to play with Bates long-term. Recently, Mike Hilton and Logan Wilson made it public that they too wanted their guy extended and playing in the stripes for the foreseeable future.
Placing the tag on Bates means that the organization has time to sign him to an extension before the season begins. Otherwise, if an extension is not agreed upon, he’d make roughly $13 million for 2022 and would then be a free agent again a year from now. For what it’s worth, Spotrac has Bates’ market value set at five years, $72 million.
Bates tweeted some intriguing emojis on Tuesday night that made fans think a pay day is coming soon for the star safety. Fingers crossed!
Bates’ shaky regular season could lead to the team taking their time with getting this deal done but that wouldn’t be right. The guy deserves to get paid.