Report: Bengals likely to franchise tag safety Jessie Bates

The Cincinnati Bengals want to re-sign safety Jessie Bates, and they’ll likely use the franchise tag to keep the defense on the roster while they work on a deal, according to USA Today’s Tyler Dragon.

Bates, 25, spoke in February about wanting to avoid the franchise tag, but the Bengals are running out of time to reach an extension with safety. Free agency is scheduled to begin on March 16 with a two-day tampering period before then, allowing other teams to contact Bates’ agent. With just over a week to complete a deal, Cincinnati has until Tuesday to decide whether to use the franchise tag.

If franchised, Bates and the Bengals will have until mid-July to negotiate a deal that voids the label. If no deal is reached, Bates is expected to earn more than $13 million on a one-year contract.

Bates was a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and has only missed two games in the past four seasons. In 2020, he was a second-team All-Pro and Bates played a key role in leading the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI earlier this year. Late in the second half of the Super Bowl, Bates intercepted Matthew Stafford deep in Bengals territory.

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