The Bengals and franchise-tagged safety Jessie Bates are not expected to come to a long-term contract agreement before the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Friday, according to multiple reports.
And now he may miss time in training camp and beyond.
Per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Bengals’ final offer guaranteed Bates only $4 million more on a five-year contract than the $12.91 million he is slated to make on the one-year franchise tender in 2022.
But Bates has not yet signed his franchise tender. And according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, Bates has no intention to report to training camp or play on the franchise tag in 2022.
That would set up Bates for a Le’Veon Bell-type season, where he’d sit out the year and become a free agent in 2023. But as Bell noted this week, that strategy comes with its share of risk.
Bates, 25, has been a critical piece of Cincinnati’s defense since the club selected him in the second round of the 2018 draft. He’s started all 63 games that he’s played, recording 10 interceptions, 35 passes defensed, a pair of forced fumbles, and a pair of fumble recoveries in the regular season.
He also had two interceptions and six passes defensed in the postseason for last year’s AFC Champions.