What the Minkah Fitzpatrick extension means for the Bengals and Jessie Bates

Jessie Bates, Bengals. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
Jessie Bates, Bengals. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /

The Steelers recently made Minkah Fitzpatrick the highest-paid safety in the league, which is good news if you’re a Jessie Bates fan but not if you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan.

The moment the Fitzpatrick contract was announced, we can just imagine Jessie Bates texting the Bengals front office with the two wide eyes emoji, which concisely says: “He got his bag, where’s mine?”

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minkah Fitzpatrick reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension worth over $18.4 million per year with $36 million guaranteed at signing, per Adam Schefter.

After Jamal Adams and Justin Simmons signed then-record extensions last offseason, the Fitzpatrick deal resets the safety market, inflating the value of current safeties who have yet to pen long-term contracts like Bates and Los Angeles Chargers’ Derwin James.

Not much changes from the Bengals’ point of view, as the front office was unwilling to pay Bates before the Fitzpatrick extension and likely won’t do so now.

The Minkah Fitzpatrick extension makes Jessie Bates smile, Bengals frown

If anything, the recent deal only fuels the deadlock between Cincinnati and Jessie Bates, pushing Bates closer to playing under a franchise tag for 2022 and potentially looking for a new home the following season.

Currently, Bengals camp has stayed mostly hush-hush regarding the Bates contract saga, as it’s unknown what offers Cincinnati has made to Bates so far this offseason.

It may be worth nothing that Bates and Fitzpatrick happen to share the same high-profile agent, David Mulugheta. Mulugheta quietly made headlines earlier this summer by securing the largest contract in league history for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, and now he has also secured the largest contract for a safety with Fitzpatrick’s massive extension. Could Bates be next?

The Steelers made good on one of their boldest trades in recent history, ensuring Fitzpatrick stays with the team for the next four years.

Unfortunately for Bengals fans, Cincinnati has yet to renew its confidence in its 2018 draft pick in Bates, who has arguably played well enough to get paid as one of the league’s top safeties.

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The Fitzpatrick extension bodes good news for current players in a rising safety market but ultimately does more harm than good to Jessie Bates’ contract dispute with the Bengals, prolonging what could be a very ugly standoff.