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Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates spoke with reporters Wednesday after ending his holdout and signing the $12.9 million franchise tag the team originally positioned on him in March.
While Bates is back the building, he questioned why he was not inked to a long-term deal by yet.
“It is a great chance for me to keep to provide who I’m and what Im going to this franchise along with other teams aswell,” Bates said, per CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
“Im considering this being an possibility to prove that Im among the best safeties in the league. Im uncertain why Im not paid yet.”
Bates and the Bengals were working toward a long-term deal prior to the July 15 franchise tag deadline, but neither side was reportedly close, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
For the #Bengals and star S Jessie Bates: The team’s final offer guaranteed Bates only $4M a lot more than what he’d get if he eventually signs the franchise tag. Huge difference may be the tag locks Bates set for one year as the Bengals’ offer locked him set for 5 additional years.
That meant Bates had to play on the franchise tag in 2022. Bates held out for pretty much per month of training camp, but which has officially ended, with Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer reporting the news headlines:
Kelsey Conway @KelseyLConway
Breaking news: #Bengals safety Jessie Bates, after not reporting for training camp in the beginning because of failed contract negotiations, is back the team development, a source informs me
This comes each day prior to the team starts practices contrary to the Rams. @Enquirer
While Bates wants well-deserved long-term security, he did recognize the chance before him with the franchise tag.
“But it is a great chance of me to generate some wealth for my children,” Bates said.
“This franchise tag number isnt bad so Im not likely to be nave compared to that. I really like this game a great deal to sit out a complete year.”
Bates has played all of his NFL seasons with Cincinnati after going No. 54 overall in the 2018 draft.
The 25-year-old played a great role because the Bengals won the AFC this past year with 88 tackles (67 solo), four pass breakups and something interception. He also snagged a set of picks in the playoffs, including one in the Super Bowl.
The former Wake Forest star is a stalwart since arriving with Cincinnati as a second-round pick in 2018, playing and starting all but two games (among those was to rest in Week 18 this past year).
Free agency is looming for the budding star in 2023. But also for now, he’s got returned, and that made franchise quarterback Joe Burrow happy.
“You felt the power in the locker room when he returned. It was a good jolt,” Burrow said, per Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Cincinnati opens the standard season Sept. 11 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.