5 scapegoats if things go wrong for the Bengals in 2022

Leigh Oleszczak
Jessie Bates, Bengals. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
Jessie Bates, Bengals. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

3. Jessie Bates

The biggest storyline surrounding the Bengals this offseason has been the ongoing Jessie Bates contract drama. I’ll provide a refresher for everyone in case you haven’t been following along — Bates hit free agency this offseason but was quickly slapped with the franchise tag. Bates, however, has come out and said that he won’t be playing on the franchise tag.

The Bengals have until July 15 to agree on a long-term contract with Bates, otherwise he’ll be playing on the franchise tag or the team could trade him and get what they can from him now.

If Bates is still with the team when the season begins and things don’t go smoothly for the reigning AFC champs, he’ll probably get some backlash from the fans. Some might accuse him of being a distraction, especially if the secondary isn’t playing well.

The situation with Bates has been sad considering how good of a player he was for them during the first three years of his career. While his play declined last year, fans aren’t going to be happy if he performs like that again this year and the rest of the defense suffers as a result.