Bengals are expected to franchise tag Jessie Bates III ahead of free agency, per report

Jessie Bates III wants to stay in Cincinnati, his home since he was drafted by the Bengals in 2018. He also wants a new contract, as the veteran safety has played out his rookie deal. It appears that Bates will get his wish to remain in Cincinnati, but a new contract may not be in the cards, at least not in the near future. 

The Bengals are expected to place the franchise tag on Bates before the March 8 deadline to do so, according to USA Today. Cincinnati will then continue to try to negotiate towards a longterm deal for Bates, who played an integral role in the Bengals’ unexpected Super Bowl run this past season. The two sides have until 4 p.m. on July 15 to come to terms on a new deal. If they cannot agree on a new deal, Bates would play under the tag in 2022 which is expected to pay him roughly $13 million, all guaranteed. 

If tagged, Bates won’t be able to test the market. His market value is currently slated at about $72.44 million over five years for an average annual salary of $14.48 million, according to Spotrac. The totality of Bates’ market value would make him the NFL‘s highest-paid safety. Annually, Bates would be among the league’s highest-paid safeties but behind Jamal AdamsHarrison SmithJustin SimmonsBudda Baker and Eddie Jackson

Along with Bates, the Bengals also have to consider the upcoming contracts of other key players like receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, quarterback Joe Burrow, and linebacker Logan Wilson. The Bengals also have other current free agents to consider re-signing like Larry Ogunjobi and B.J. Hill, both of whom played a big role in Cincinnati having one of the league’s toughest run defenses last year. 

The 52nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Bates has collected 10 interceptions, 35 passes defensed and 408 tackles in 63 regular season games. Bates really showed his worth in the 2021 postseason, as he recorded two interceptions, broke up six passes and made 20 tackles for the reigning AFC champions. 

As far as his future is concerned, it’s highly likely that Bates will be back in Cincinnati for the 2022 season. Whether or not he will be there beyond that may come down to whether or not the two sides can come to terms on a new deal before this summer’s deadline. 

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