It sounds as if Bengals safety Jessie Bates will play out his contract this season without receiving the extension he desires. Bates addressed the stalled talks Thursday.
“I think as far as my contract goes, I guess I haven’t done enough yet to be considered one of the top safeties in this league, which is fine,” Bates said during an interview with the Bengals radio team, via Richard Skinner of WKRC. “That’s fine with me. I’m going to go to work just like any other day, my first three years being here. Just being able to have that open conversation with my agent has been great in regards to just having the conversation, very open. I think this will probably be the last time that I speak on the contract just because I think it can get a little messy as far as thinking about it too much. I’ve been out there practicing every day. I have a goal that I want to reach, personally, and I know I have to get better to help this team get to where we need to be. I’ll let my agent work out the numbers and stuff like that. I’m going to be the best teammate, the best leader that I can be for the 2021 Bengals. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
Sarcasm seemed to drip off his response.
Bates used the word “fine” more than once. It doesn’t appear he is “fine” with the lack of progress in talks. Unless by “fine,” he means he hopes to hit the open market in 2022.
The Bengals could use the franchise tag on him for 2022.
Bates, a second-round choice in 2018 who made second-team All-Pro last season, has outplayed his current contract. He is scheduled to make $2.43 million in base salary this season in the final year of his rookie deal.
Bates has chosen not to “hold in,” practicing with the team during training camp.
“He’s been a total pro,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “He’s having a great camp. Jessie embodies everything we want the Bengals to be about. When we define a Bengal, Jessie Bates fits that description. Fortunately, I can stay out of that and just coach the football team. Again, Jessie, he’s been practicing. He’s done a great job. He has a tremendous attitude, and I’m proud to coach Jessie.”
Bates has started all 48 games in his three seasons and made more than 100 tackles each season. Bates has nine career interceptions, including three last season.