The Cincinnati Bengals and Jessie Bates have until July 15th to negotiate a long-term extension for the star safety. Will Bates finally get his bag?
With less than a week away from the deadline, it seems less and less likely that Bates will get a contract extension before the 2022 season. The Bengals placed a franchise tag on Bates earlier this summer but Bates has yet to sign the tag, which would pay him $12.9 million in fully guaranteed money this year.
Bates was playing on pennies last season, earning roughly $2.5 million in his fourth year in Cincy in which he recorded 88 combined tackles, four passes defended, and one interception. Not bad numbers, yet given that Bates had recorded three picks a season in each of his first three years as a Bengal, it’s understandable why Cincy’s front office is hesitant to sign him to a megadeal.
$13 million a year represents a huge increase from what Bates was making in 2021, but Bates is likely looking for a much more lucrative payday, closer to what Pittsburgh Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick secured just a month ago.
If neither side comes to an agreement by July 15, there’s a chance Bates may opt out of attending the start of team training camp, and Bates’ tenure in Cincy could be cut shorter than expected.
NFL pundits believe there isn’t “a lot of optimism” regarding Bates and the Bengals reaching a deal by the end of the week, and it goes without saying that such a rift would cause seismic morale issues in Bengals camp.
Bengals and Jessie Bates are nowhere close to finalizing a contract extension in 2022
Bates joins several other franchise-tagged players looking for a long-term deal with their respective deals: Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki and Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz are among those hoping to hammer out an extension this summer.
There’s no doubt Bates ranks as one of the most valuable defenders in Cincinnati, but the Bengals need to consider the future of the rest of their relatively young and cheap roster — some players, like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, have already developed into irreplaceable franchise cornerstone pieces and will almost certainly get their due when the time comes.
Compared to Burrow and Chase, Bates’ position appears more negotiable, and Cincinnati may prefer to stay patient and develop talent like 2022 first-rounder Daxton Hill rather than spend an exorbitant chunk of the team’s salary cap space on Bates.
Would Bates ask to leave Cincinnati if he doesn’t get his long-term deal? Is the club already quietly bracing for Bates’ exit?
Many questions surrounding Bates’ precarious future with the team loom ahead of the July 15 deadline. All we can do is wait.