The Bengals’ franchise tag offseason with Jessie Bates has produced mostly reports of an impasse, leading to frustration from the talented safety. While 11th-hour momentum frequently comes on July 15 in these cases, it does not appear to be on tap in this one.
Bates and the Bengals have made “zero progress” on an extension ahead of Friday’s 3pm CT deadline, Tyler Dragon of USA Today tweets. This situation has headed to this place for a while, dating back to the 2021 offseason — when Bates expressed disappointment no extension emerged ahead of his contract year. It appears a season on the franchise tender — one Bates has not signed — will be his 2022 path.
It is not difficult to see why Bates is balking at the Bengals’ offer. Cincinnati is proposing a five-year deal that provides barely $16MM fully guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (on Twitter). This guarantee proposal would be well outside the top five at the position. Eight safeties signed for more than $20MM fully guaranteed. The Bengals do not guarantee salaries beyond the first year of contracts, joining the Packers on that front. This blueprint will be tested when the Bengals negotiate with Joe Burrow, but the team appears unwilling to break with procedure for Bates.
Until Bates signs his tender, he is not contractually obligated to attend Bengals training camp. That is the fifth-year safety’s plan, per Dragon, who adds Bates has no intentions to report to camp.
Once Bates signs his tender, he will be tied to a $12.9MM guaranteed salary. While Le’Veon Bell did stick to his guns and skip the 2018 season, no one else has tried this tactic since the 1990s. It should be expected Bates will play for the Bengals in 2022, but after the past two offseasons, it is not hard to see this relationship ending in 2023. A second Bates tag would cost the Bengals $15.5MM next year.
Bates, 25, has missed just two games throughout his career and has started every game he’s played. The former second-round pick has become one of the NFL’s top safeties, but a value gap has formed.
The Bengals appear unwilling to pay Bates a deal that places him on the Minkah Fitzpatrick–Jamal Adams tier. Adams created that space by signing a $17.5MM-per-year deal in August 2021. There are four safeties (Marcus Williams, Kevin Byard, Eddie Jackson and Budda Baker) tied to deals ranging from $14MM AAV to $14.75MM per annum. While a compromise spot would exist in the Justin Simmons–Harrison Smith space ($15.25-$16MM per year), the salary cap is set to keep rising — after its 2021 dip — so Bates seeking a deal close to the top of the market makes sense.
Cincinnati has Vonn Bell entering a contract year as well, clouding the team’s outlook at the position. But first-round pick Daxton Hill should be expected to become a starter soon. He is signed through 2025, with a fifth-year option that could take the deal to 2026. A Bates big-ticket deal alongside Hill’s rookie contract would seem manageable, but the Bengals have perhaps their most notable extension in franchise history to consider in 2023. In addition to Burrow becoming extension-eligible next year, so will Tee Higgins, giving the AFC champions some long-term planning to do.
7 comments on “Bengals, Jessie Bates Will Not Reach Deal; S Not Planning To Show For Training Camp”
He’s going to hold out for an extention he can no longer sign?
Don’t know all the specifics of what both he and the team can do at this point, but I imagine the only options left are:
1) Him and the Bengals come to some sort of handshake agreement, whether that be to give him a contract extension at the end of the season when he’s eligible or that they won’t hit him with the franchise tag again and let him hit free agency
2) He reports near the end of training camp/pre-season. Obviously not an ideal outcome for either side but there’s probably some nuances here that would put some pressure on the Bengals (i.e. roster spot, salary cap, etc)
3) They trade him or pull the franchise tag (if either is still possible).
He is not going to sign the franchise until the minute. He does not have to go to training camp until he has signed a contract.
It’s silly to maintain the no guaranteed money after the first year of the contract stance when everyone knows they’re going to break it for Burrow.
The upcoming Burrow deal is why they won’t guarantee anything but the first year. Joey B will get $50m a year and there are others more important (in their minds) than Bates, especially when they drafted his replacement in April. Neither side is wrong, it’s just one of the many flaws when NFL contracts
Bengals should have allowed Bates to seek a trade. Doing so would have shown him that no one values him as much as he and his agent do. The guy has never even made a pro bowl and is coming off an extremely mediocre 2021 season..yet is demanding to be the top paid safety in the league. What a level of entitlement. Now he’s going to skip training camp, as if that will help his cause at all. There’s a good chance he loses significant reps this year to the first round rookie. Much like the Bell situation in Pitt, Bates will become a cautionary tale to players in the future.
Entitlement? Nah. Dude wants to get every penny he can; who can blame him? He’s going to sit out all training camp so he doesn’t get hurt before the games start then sign around their last preseason game so he can get some reps before the lights come on. He’s not skipping out on $13M