Bates III Case Review

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the hottest young teams in the league and the future is bright for the first time in awhile. However, they are in a sticky situation with one of the important young pieces of the defense, free safety Jessie Bates III (or as I prefer JB3). He has lived up to his second round status and he impressed fast as a rookie as he swiped the starting job. He has really brought the energy to a Cincinnati secondary that hasn’t been this strong in awhile. 

In 2018 Bates signed a four-year contract worth $4.94 million dollar contract for his rookie deal and now if a deal isn’t reached he will play on the franchise tag at roughly $13 million. JB3 knows this, the Bengals surely know this, many of his teammates do as they voiced on twitter, and his agent David Mulugheta definitely knows this. David Mulugheta is one of the top agents in the game at securing guaranteed money (as advertised with Deshaun Watson’s contract), and it doesn’t seem like he’s settling for very much here. The Bengals and Bates have been wrestling over this contract for months, but the question seems to be is he good enough to be the highest paid safety in the NFL? 

JB3 has only missed one game in 4 seasons, which is almost rare in the league nowadays and is an underrated stat. He had one interception last year on a little bit of a different defensive scheme but had three all three past years. He had his best tackling season his rookie year with 111 combined tackles (73 solo, 38 assist), and this year he had 88 combined (67 solo, 21 assist). If you look deep into the stats, it looks like Bates had a down season this year, is that what the Bengals are seeing? Watching the tape JB3 looks like the main piece to the puzzle, especially in the postseason where he had 2 interceptions and 20 combined tackles (11 solo, 9 assist). 

All-in-all, JB3 is a gigantic piece to the puzzle of this up and coming cincy defense and he wants to be paid the big bucks. The highest paid safety is also in the AFC North and just signed his contract recently in Minkah Fitzpatrick. If Bates wants to be the highest paid he is looking at $18.5 million a year, and over 36 million guaranteed. 

If you ask me, the Bengals need to bring Jessie back, but I’m not sure if he’s worth $18.5 million a year. The Bengals have a lot of guys that are going to get big money in the next 3-4 years like Tee Higgins, Logan Wilson, Joe Burrow, Jonah Williams and Ja’marr Chase. I think you could end up losing one of them if you drop the bank on Jessie Bates III. 

My final verdict, the Bengals should do whatever it takes to bring back Bates. I truthfully believe they can find a way to pay Bates, Tee Higgins, Ja’marr, and Burrow, and don’t be surprised if Burrow or Ja’marr do something in the way of not hurting the team so much financially. What I mean is maybe convert most of their pay to a signing bonus so they can pay everybody, or take a little less than they could get to help the team stay relevant (all speculation though).

Leave a Reply