It doesn't feel like Jessie Bates will be back with the Bengals in 2023

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals are officially in offseason mode and that means Jessie Bates is a free agent. A lot of Bengals fans expected that the 2022 season would be Bates' last with this organization after a rocky 2022 offseason that ended with him getting slapped with the franchise tag.

Bates, a former second-round pick out of Wake Forest, played for the Bengals when this team was still stuck in the mud. In fact, he was once one of the few bright spots on the team and he mentioned that in his post-game conversations.

Jessie Bates probably won't be a member of the Bengals in 2023

Bates was clearly emotional following the team's 23-20 loss to Kansas City in the AFC title game and didn't try to hide the fact that it was probably his final game as a Bengal.

On Monday, he mentioned that while he wants to remain in Cincinnati, he can't leave $10 million on the table. This is understandable as these players only have a limited time to play and earn as much money as possible and Bates needs to go get as much money as he possibly can. Any Bengals fan faulting him for this doesn't understand the business.

Bates did not have great PFF numbers during the playoffs this year, notching an overall grade of 50.4 and a lackluster coverage grade of 44.9. Simply put, he's not going to be worth the $56 million that Spotrac has him projected to earn in the offseason.

The Bengals planned for Bates' eventual departure by drafting Dax Hill in the first round of last year's draft and while it would have been nice for Hill to have gotten more playing time, he'll be Bates' sucessor.

The question now is can the Bengals keep Vonn Bell? Losing both him and Bates would be a tough blow to this secondary.

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Either way, it'll be unfortunate when the Bengals do win a Super Bowl because it feels as though Bates should have been a part of the run. That's how it goes sometimes though. Players can choose money or they can choose playing for a contender. It's hard to do both.