You can say whatever you want about Jessie Bates, but this Cincinnati Bengals team and this defense are drastically better when Bates is on the field and in the locker room with his teammates.
Bates finally ended his hold-out and returned to the facility to sign his $12.9 million franchise tag with the team, which will lock him up this season. However, he will hit the market once again next off-season. This very well could be his last season with the Cincinnati Bengals. So let’s make the best out of it.
This deal was first reported by Bengals beat writer Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Both sides had plausible reasons for holding out of a deal. But that’s in the past. Bengals got what they want and have their star safety back this year, and Bates just signed a contract to receive well over $12 million this season, surpassing his earnings so far in his young career.
He would be sacrificing that money if he held out into the season. He may not have got exactly what he was looking for, but it is still a significant chunk of change and isn’t easy to pass up on. If Bates has another season like he has had his entire career, there won’t be any worries because a team will surely pay him precisely what he’s looking for next summer anyway.
The thing that should get fans extremely excited is the possibility of the Bengals having a three-headed monster at the safety position. Bates, Daxton Hill, and Vonn Bell can play in many sets together due to Hill’s abilities and the different schemes he’s capable of playing in. The Bengals now have one of the deepest secondaries in the league after drafting two new defensive backs with their first two picks and retaining everybody from last year.
Potential Defensive Back unit
CB 1: Chidobe Awuzie
CB 2: Eli Apple
Slot: Mike Hilton
FS: Jessie Bates
SS: Vonn Bell
Box S (backup as well): Daxton Hill
The Bengals will also have depth pieces with loads of talent as well like:
- Tre Flowers
- Cameron Taylor-Britt
- Tycen Anderson
- Michael Thomas
- Brandon Wilson (when healthy)
- Jalen Davis (if makes the roster)
- Allan George (if makes the roster)
What having Bates does for the Bengals
Nonetheless, having Bates back opens many doors for defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo to use and scheme with. The leadership shouldn’t go unnoticed either. Bates was a huge piece to the puzzle that kept this team close and the chemistry intact. That’s a huge factor when determining what teams are Super Bowl contending and which aren’t.
So often, you see teams crumble due to selfish personalities within the locker room that cause controversy to happen. The Bengals are rarely in the media due to lackluster disputes or self-centered players/coaches. They genuinely like each other, which will take a team a long way when it’s all said and done.
The Cincinnati Bengals open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also start a joint practice this week with the Los Angeles Rams ahead of their Week 3 preseason matchup on Saturday, August 27th, in Cincinnati at the new Paycor Stadium.
It will be the first time these teams are seeing each other since the Super Bowl. However, Zac Taylor and Sean McVay are great friends. It will get competitive but don’t expect to see anything like the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers’ joint practice this past week, where it seemed like each day there were multiple fights on the practice field between the two teams.
It will be interesting to see how the Bengals use Bates throughout this week and the next. I wouldn’t anticipate him playing in the preseason final,e but the Bengals could get him heavily involved in the practices this week and get him in the thick of things.
The goal will be to make sure he’s 100% ready and conditioned for the Week 1 matchup, and that shouldn’t be hard considering Bates’ work ethic and the probability that he has kept himself in football shape throughout his hold out.