Aug 27, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) stands on the sidelines before a preseason game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals create room on roster for S Jessie Bates III

The Cincinnati Bengals waived cornerback Allan George to create space on the 53-man roster for safety Jessie Bates III.

Bates is set to revert to the active roster from the exempt/commissioner permission list. The roster exemption expires Monday.

After initially refusing to sign his franchise tender and report to camp in July, Bates ended his holdout late last month and signed the tender. The team placed him on the exempt list, saving the club a roster spot ahead of roster cutdown day last Tuesday.

Bates has 10 interceptions and 408 tackles in 63 games over four seasons with the Bengals. He had 88 tackles and one interception in 15 games last season.

The club also released tight end Thaddeus Moss from the practice squad. George is expected to take Moss’ spot on the practice squad, provided he clears waivers.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown (57) during the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Franchise tag roundup: Chiefs OT Brown among 3 tagged Monday

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown was the first of three NFL players to receive the franchise tag on Monday.

Brown would make approximately $16.5 million on the franchise tag in 2022 if the two sides are unable to work out a long-term deal.

Acquired from the Baltimore Ravens for a first-round pick in the 2021 draft, Brown stabilized the left side of the Kansas City offensive line in a focused overhaul of the Chiefs’ front wall last offseason.

A third-round pick of the Ravens who began his career at right tackle, Brown is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who hiked his value by moving to the left side for the Ravens when Ronnie Stanley (ankle) was lost for the 2020 season.

Tagging Brown shifts the attention of general manager Brett Veach to safety Tyrann Mathieu, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next week. Mathieu turns 30 in May and said he would love to be back in Kansas City. But he’s also expected to draw significant interest in free agency.

The deadline for teams to designate franchise tag players is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

–The AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals used the franchise tag on starting safety Jessie Bates III.

Bates and the Bengals have not reached a long-term contract extension after negotiating the past two offseasons. By placing the tag on Bates Monday, Cincinnati has until July 15 to sign him to a new long-term deal. Otherwise, the 25-year-old safety will play 2022 under the tag, expected to be roughly $13 million.

Bates has started all but two games for the Bengals since entering the league as a 2018 second-round draft pick. A second-team All-Pro in 2020, Bates has compiled 408 tackles, 35 pass breakups, 10 interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over four seasons.

Bates added two interceptions in the 2021 playoffs, including one on Matthew Stafford during Super Bowl LVI, along with six pass breakups.

–The Cleveland Browns placed the franchise tag on tight end David Njoku.

Njoku, 25, will earn around $10.9 million in 2022 unless the two sides are able to reach a long-term deal.

Njoku caught 36 passes for 475 yards with a team-high four receiving touchdowns in 16 games (11 starts) last season. He has 15 career TDs in 65 games (36 starts) for the Browns since being taken No. 29 overall in the 2017 draft.

The Browns have a decision to make on fellow TE Austin Hooper, who carries a $13.2 million cap hit in 2022.

–Field Level Media

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

Bengals tag S Jessie Bates

The AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals will use the franchise tag on starting safety Jessie Bates.

Bates and the Bengals have not reached a long-term contract extension after negotiating the past two offseasons. By placing the tag on Bates Monday, Cincinnati has until July 15 to sign him to a new long-term deal. Otherwise, the 25-year-old safety will play 2022 under the tag, expected to be roughly $13 million.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for Jessie to be with us again this year as we continue to improve our team,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said in a team statement.

Bates has started all but two games for the Bengals since entering the league as a 2018 second-round draft pick. A second-team All-Pro in 2020, Bates has compiled 408 tackles, 35 pass breakups, 10 interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over four seasons.

Bates added two interceptions in the 2021 playoffs, including one on Matthew Stafford during Super Bowl LVI, along with six pass breakups.

In an interview with NFL Network last month, Bates said he hoped not to be tagged.

“Some of the top guys got hurt under a franchise tag. It’s tough,” Bates said. “You only get one shot at this. You just gotta play your cards right.”

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals free safety Jessie Bates (30) celebrates after an interception during an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. Cincinnati Bengals defeated Tennessee Titans 19-16.

Cincinnati Bengals At Tennessee Titans Divisional Playoff 70

Notebook: Bengals’ secondary wise to Rams’ ‘smart’ receivers

Ahead of Super Bowl LVI, one of the words Cincinnati Bengals defenders are using to describe their Los Angeles Rams opponents is “smart.”

“There’s multiple times where you’ll see Odell (Beckham) or Cooper Kupp, they know exactly where the zones are, where the soft spots are in zones. … Very talented group, but also very smart, and that’s what makes them dangerous,” Bengals safety and captain Jessie Bates III said Thursday.

It will be up to Bates and the secondary to slow down a dynamic Rams passing game in Sunday’s game at Inglewood, Calif.

Kupp won the receiving “triple crown” during the regular season by leading the league in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16), becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since Steve Smith in 2005. In November, the Rams signed the talented Beckham, who had 27 catches for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular-season games in Los Angeles.

The Rams, who also received contributions from DeSean Jackson before his release and Robert Woods before a season-ending ACL tear, led the NFL with 18 passing plays of 40 yards or more.

The Bengals will counter with Mike Hilton, a lauded nickel corner who may see a lot of Kupp in the slot. Bates, Vonn Bell and Ricardo Allen play safety for Cincinnati and Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple start at outside corner.

They also have depth in the form of Tre Flowers, a former Seattle Seahawks cornerback who dealt with Sean McVay’s offense plenty in his past.

“I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to play against these guys seven times before I left (Seattle), so it’s gonna be a great challenge,” Flowers said.

Allen, who played with the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-20, is the only Bengals player with past Super Bowl experience. The day did not go exactly as planned as he watched Tom Brady lead a comeback from down 28-3 to give the New England Patriots a stunning win over Atlanta.

“It’s an offense that’s very adaptable,” Allen said of the Rams. “They can adapt on the run and stuff like that. So you’ve got to know that about them. To be honest, it’s going to be players making plays, man. We’ll have to go out there and see what matchup they’re trying to get, see what analysis they’re trying to take away from us.”

While the Bengals have drawn attention for their high-powered offense, led by Joe Burrow, and their own set of wideouts, head coach Zac Taylor felt his defense (ranked ninth in yards allowed, fifth in points allowed) often was overlooked.

“I do agree that they haven’t gotten the credit that they’ve deserved,” Taylor said. “You look at the group, they played their tails off in the playoffs, but really it goes back way before that. They’ve been consistent throughout the season.”

— C.J. Uzomah, who sprained the MCL in his left knee during the AFC Championship Game, reiterated his stance Thursday that he is “not missing the biggest game of (his) life.”

Uzomah did not practice Wednesday and the Bengals held Thursday’s media availability before practice. But Taylor has said Uzomah’s status is trending in a positive direction.

The seventh-year tight end is a Bengals fan favorite, and he continued to ingratiate himself with the city of Cincinnati this week. At a fan rally Monday night, Uzomah came out wearing a knee brace before he theatrically ripped it off his leg and tossed it aside to hype up the crowd. He admitted Thursday that he used a prop brace for that move, not the one he had actually been wearing.

He also promised in a podcast interview that he would bathe in Cincinnati’s famed Skyline chili, with the host, if the Bengals won Sunday’s game.

“Easy. 100 percent,” Uzomah said. “I’m wearing swim trunks, but you put it in a swimming pool, I’ll dive in there and I’ll eat my way out.”

–The Bengals say their team culture under Taylor’s regime has been years in the making, even through recent setbacks.

In late 2020, Burrow’s rookie season was cut short by an ACL and MCL tear. Bates said Thursday that after Burrow went down, Taylor called him, running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Tyler Boyd to discuss carrying on as leaders in the locker room.

“(He challenged) us to kind of step up,” Bates said, “embrace the situation we were in last year where we didn’t have the MVP of the league or the comeback player of the year. We knew what we had here. We knew what we were building with. … If you learn from it, it’s not really the struggle, it’s part of the process. That’s the beauty at the end.”

Nov 1, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals free safety Jessie Bates (30) makes an interception against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals’ Bates fined $20K for hit on WR Humphries

Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates was fined $20,000 by the NFL for his hit last week on Tennessee Titans wideout Adam Humphries, NFL Network reported Saturday night.

Bates was not flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver. Humphries remained on the ground for several minutes before leaving the game. Humphries is out this week with a concussion. Bates was able to break up the pass, and Humphries didn’t record a catch before leaving. The Bengals defeated the Titans.

Humphries, 27, has 22 receptions for 219 yards and two touchdowns on the season.

The Bengals (2-5-1) are on a bye and will play the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers next week. The Titans (5-2) host the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media