As the NFL’s franchise tag deadline looms, the Cincinnati Bengals are not expected to tag All-Pro safety Jessie Bates III.
USA Today’s Tyler Dragon was the first to report the news.
The Bengals are not expected to franchise tag safety Jessie Bates, per a source. The two sides have until March 15 to see if they can reach a long-term deal.
— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) March 6, 2023
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Both sides haven’t been able to come to an agreement on anything for close to a calendar year, if not longer.
The difference between this year and last, however, is the Bengals tagged Bates in order to keep him from entering free agency.
That obviously won’t happen this year, unless an agreement is reached before March 15 (or during the legal tampering period).
The potential loss of Bates will be considered a loss for the Bengals defense, but the team drafted Dax Hill in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, so it’s not like Bates’ absence immediately leaves a hole on the roster.
Bates was recently seen hanging out with Atlanta Falcons players and apparently, he’d love to play with Deshaun Watson, with whom he shares an agent.
Leaving the Bengals for the Cleveland Browns would be rough. But, it’s easy to assume Bates would playing his former team twice a year.
Especially after a big pay day.