Safety Jessie Bates and the Cincinnati Bengals did not reach an agreement on a long-term deal before the Friday deadline facing players retained on the franchise tag.
What that means for Bates and the Bengals stands as a cliffhanger.
USA Today reported Friday that Bates has no intention of reporting to training camp or playing under the terms of the franchise tag, which was applied in February by the Bengals to keep him from unrestricted free agency. The one-year tender for safeties under the rules of the franchise tag brings a 2022 salary of around $13 million.
Bates said during Super Bowl media interviews that injuries and the lack of guarantees or bonuses in the franchise agreements make them a high-risk proposition.
NFL Network reported on Friday that Bates’ total guarantee in the final contract offer he received from the Bengals was $4 million higher than the guarantee he stands to receive on the franchise tag.
Bates has started all but two games for the Bengals since entering the league as a 2018 second-round draft pick. A second-team All-Pro in 2020, Bates has compiled 408 tackles, 35 pass breakups, 10 interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over four seasons.
Bates added two interceptions in the 2021 playoffs, including one on Matthew Stafford during Super Bowl LVI, along with six pass breakups.
In an interview with NFL Network in February, Bates said he hoped not to be tagged.
“Some of the top guys got hurt under a franchise tag. It’s tough,” Bates said. “You only get one shot at this. You just gotta play your cards right.”
–Field Level Media