The Bengals gave Jessie Bates a low-ball offer he would never have accepted

Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

As to be expected, the Cincinnati Bengals and safety Jessie Bates failed to reach a deal by Friday’s franchise tag deadline, placing Bates’ long-term future with the franchise in serious doubt.

The Bengals and Bates were far from agreeing to a deal this summer, and the breakdown of negotiations means Bates will play on the franchise tag for the 2022 season. After that, Bates’ tenure in Cincinnati remains uncertain.

If anything, all this contract drama has soured Bates’ relationship with the Bengals and the two sides could very likely part ways next year.

Cincinnati reportedly offered Bates only $4 million more than the franchise tag amount in an attempt to lock in the safety for the next five years. Bates, who wanted top-tier safety money, understandably declined.

Cincinnati Bengals and Jessie Bates contract standoff has reached a tipping point

The failure to agree to a deal is no one’s fault in particular — it’s just a matter of differing opinions. Cincinnati clearly don’t think Bates is worth top-of-the-market money (akin to what Minkah Fitzpatrick or Jamal Adams received) and gave him an offer he would never accept.

Bates, on the other hand, thinks he’s played well enough to warrant that kind of money and would rather play on the franchise tag this season and potentially cash out with another team next year.

It’s difficult to look at Bates’ stats on paper and pay him what he wants as Bates has hardly been the emblem of consistency these past four years. Bates’ Pro Football Focus grades from his rookie season to his third year have been 79.9, 61.2, and 90.1 respectively.

This past season, Bates finished the regular season with an abysmal 56.1 Pro Football Focus grade that only jumped up to the 90s in the playoffs.

Bates has a right to his own opinion and can believe he deserves a salary comparable to that of the NFL’s best safeties, but from the Bengals’ point of view, Bates isn’t worth the bag, especially when Cincinnati have many other players’ futures to consider.

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The star safety has made it clear he does not want to play on the tag, but heading into the 2022 season, he may not have any other choice.