After the Bengals announced a $40 million contract extension for Sam Hubbard, most Bengals fans hoped news about Jessie Bates III wouldn’t be far behind. Unfortunately, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, we’re likely going to be waiting for a while.
The #Bengals and safety Jesse Bates III are not expected to reach a contract extension at this time, per source. Sides not progressing toward a deal. Bates, a 2022 free agent, is a major player coming off three interceptions, 15 pass breakups a year ago.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 10, 2021
As expected, many Bengals fans are not happy about this news. After watching Bates look like a shining bright spot on an otherwise dim defensive unit, it’s hard to blame them.
Bates has been a steal for the Bengals after he fell to them in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In addition to notching three interceptions every year he’s been in the league, he took a big step up as a pass defender in 2020. In fact, his 15 passes defensed in 2015 were the most among all safeties in the NFL.
It is difficult to say exactly why the two sides are having trouble coming to an agreement. You would think the Bengals would value someone widely considered their best player on defense, if not the whole team.
With over $9.5 million in available cap space, per Over the Cap, you would think the Bengals could afford to make him one of the highest, if not the highest paid free safety in the NFL. Right now that title goes to Denver’s Justin Simmons, whose cap hit is currently only about $3 million more than Bates’.
It seems like the smart thing to do. If the Bengals are serious about building for the future, Bates is a player you absolutely can not let walk. He’s done everything you could want out of a safety and absolutely deserves the money. Not to mention, the fanbase is going to be absolutely livid if they lose him. Make it happen, Bengals.