This could be the final year for Jessie Bates on the Cincinnati Bengals roster. He’s currently on the franchise tag and things aren’t trending in a positive direction.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals spent a second-round pick on Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates. He quickly became a leader of the defense and helped it blossom into what we saw it become in 2021.
Bates might not have put together an impressive regular-season last year but he shined bright in the playoffs. Seeing him ball out in the postseason reminded fans of why the team should strongly consider signing him to an extension.
The problem is that the Bengals have a lot of other players they’re going to need to take care of in the next year or two (Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Logan Wilson, to name a few) and while Bates is a stud, safety isn’t a sexy position. He wants more money than what the Bengals are probably willing to spend at the position.
Bengals Roster: What should fans expect from Jessie Bates in 2022?
This year could be it for Bates in Cincinnati. The two have until July 15th to work out an extension but if it doesn’t happen, there are a few different things that can happen.
One option is that Bates plays on the franchise tag, which he has noted won’t be happening. Bates could decide not to play at all if a deal isn’t agreed upon. Another option is that the Bengals could trade Bates if he’s unwilling to play.
While Bates can claim that he won’t play all he wants, no good really comes from that for him. If he’s not traded, he’ll play in the stripes and he’ll have a major incentive to ball out this year.
The Bengals’ defense is undoubtedly better when Jessie Bates is playing at his best. He’ll be looking to lock down a long-term deal from either the team that drafted him or another team potentially looking to add a star in their secondary.
The realistic expectation for Bates is that he puts together another solid season. Maybe there’s a chance that he’s traded midseason but more than likely, he’ll play out the season on the franchise tag.