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Jessie Bates is up for an extension, but it doesn’t look like he and the Bengals will be putting pen to paper on such a deal in the immediate future. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bates is not progressing toward a deal with Cincinnati and the two sides are not expected to reach an agreement on an extension anytime soon, leaving his long-term future with the club in a state of flux.
Bates is entering the final year of his contract and is slated to make just under $2.5 million for the 2021 season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and — given his talent — could very well see a market-setting contract if he hits the open market. That said, the Bengals could always deploy the franchise tag to prevent themselves from getting into a bidding war with the rest of the league to retain the star safety if they are still unable to reach a long-term deal.
The 24-year-old has become a key figure in the Cincy secondary, earning second-team All-Pro honors for his efforts in 2020. Through 16 games played (all starts), Bates totaled a career-high 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. He was also second on the team with 109 tackles. When targeted, Bates allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 54.3% of their throws with a 70.7 passer rating.
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Given that production, Cincinnati is unquestionably motivated to keep Bates beyond this coming season. Bates said earlier this summer that he would like to stay with the Bengals.
“Obviously, I feel like I’m a core piece in Cincinnati,” Bates said back in June, via Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News. “My family is three hours away, so I would love to be here. My main goal is to take that next level that I keep saying as a leader on this team. The money part of it will come. I just want to win. That’s all I care about is winning. The money part of it will come. Not just for me, but for everybody in this program.”
So while there may not be talks of an extension at the moment, one would think the Bengals would look to address this critical piece to their secondary sooner rather than later.