Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) against the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Bengals S Jessie Bates III doesn’t want to be hit with franchise tag

Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III would like to return to the AFC champions for next season but said Wednesday that he does not want to he hit with the franchise tag.

Bates, one of the team’s postseason heroes en route to a Super Bowl appearance, just completed his four-year, $4.95 million rookie deal. He is slated to become a free agent but the Bengals could place the franchise tag on him prior to the March 8 deadline.

The tag is estimated to be worth approximately $13.5 million for safeties in 2022.

“That’s a conversation I think that we’ll have with my agency and my team,” Bates told NFL Network. “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 (with the) 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, who turns 25 on Saturday, would prefer to stick with the team that surprised all of football by reaching the Super Bowl before losing to the Los Angeles Rams.

“There’s some interesting conversations that will be coming up here soon,” Bates said. “Hopefully I’ll still be a part of that there in Cincinnati. But there’s just something special about the group — the young guys that we have in there. There’s a lot of good things to come there in Cincinnati whether I’m there or not.

“There is a business side of this. And I’m happy that I’m able to experience it at 24 years old. A lot of people come in drafted at 24 and they don’t really understand the process of this. It takes time. You’re not just gonna get exactly what you want whenever you want it. It’s just something that’s gonna happen — I know it will. I put the work in. I’ve done my part. The rest of it is in God’s hands. So we’ll see.”

Bengals coach Zac Taylor has stated that the team wants Bates to return.

Bates had three interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons before having just one in 2021.

But the former second-round choice from Wake Forest picked off two passes in the postseason, including one in the Super Bowl.

Bates said he isn’t looking to break the bank, but he does want his fair worth.

“I’m not too worried about the ego part of being the highest paid safety,” Bates said. “But I do know value over cost and I think that is something that … we are going to continue to evaluate over this next couple of weeks. So this is an exciting offseason. I have to continue to get better and level up I think.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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