Zac Taylor said Bengals still in conversations with Jessie Bates on contract extension

The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a tough loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI, and are beginning the process of getting back to the championship game and enhancing the roster. One of the top priorities for Cincinnati in free agency will be retaining star safety Jessie Bates, who will be one of the top free agents available this offseason. 

The Bengals have their options with Bates over the next several weeks. One of them isn’t letting him walk. 

“Jessie’s approach has been tremendous all year. Really been proud of him,” Bengals head coach  Zac Taylor said Wednesday in his end-of-season press conference, via “He’s a big part of what we do. We’re really proud of how he’s led this team and how he played for us, really, over the last four years.”

Bates has been one of the top playmakers on Cincinnati’s defense, emerging as one of the best safeties in the game. A Second Team All-Pro in 2020, Bates has recorded 408 tackles, 10 interceptions, 35 passes defended, two forced fumbles over his four years in the NFL. As the primary defender in coverage, Bates has allowed just a 58.0 passer rating in his career. 

While Bates didn’t have a 100-tackle season like he did in his first three years, he finished with 88 tackles, one interception, and four passes defensed — all career-lows. He also allowed 30 catches on 38 attempts and three touchdowns, allowing a 94.5 passer rating as the primary defender in coverage. 

Bates will only be 25 next season and will receive a big pay day if the Bengals don’t retain him. Cincinnati has the cap space to franchise tag Bates at the projected $12,911,000 (per CBS Sports’ Joel Corry) or sign-him to a long-term extension (Bengals are a projected $57,307,379 under the cap). 

The Bengals have more than enough time to get something done with Bates. 

“Those are conversations that will always be ongoing,” Taylor said. “I think everyone knows we want Jessie to be a part of this. We’ll just continue to work through those discussions.”

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