Bengals head coach Zac Taylor made it clear that the team wants to have safety Jessie Bates back with the team for the 2022 season, but the path to Bates’ return remains up in the air.
The Bengals could sign Bates to a long-term deal or they could use their franchise tag before the March 8 deadline to ensure he remains in Cincinnati. The tag would come with a salary around $ 13 million, but it would not offer any security beyond 2022. Bates pointed out that while expressing his desire to avoid the tag during an appearance on NFL Network.
“That’s a conversation I think we’ll have with my agency and my team,” Bates said. “I put a lot of trust in them with this whole process. I’m just trying to stay focused, control what I can. We’ll see. Hopefully I’m not under a franchise tag. That’s something that needs to be discussed as NFLPA a little bit. Some of the top guys got hurt under a franchise tag. It’s tough; you only get one shot at this. You just got to play your cards right, I guess you could say. ”
Bates said he is “not too worried about the ego part of being the highest-paid safety” and wants to remain with the Bengals, but is aware of his value as he heads toward discussions about his future in Cincinnati.