The Cincinnati Bengals utilized the franchise tag to keep Jessie Bates on their roster for at least another season, per Ian Rapoport. Bates gets a fully guaranteed one-year contract, reportedly worth about $13.5 million. It locks the safety into another season in Cincinnati after a run to the Super Bowl, and gives the team some time to work out a long-term deal with him.
The Bengals have around $50 million of available cap space and seemed to have no trouble spending $13.5 million of it on locking down Bates for another year. The 24-year-old has been with the Bengals since 2018, now with four seasons under his belt.
He’s coming off of a four-year contract worth $4.9 million, and will easily be earning a pay raise in the long run, should the two sides come to a long-term deal before July 15. Regardless, the $13.5 million salary guaranteed next year with a franchise tag will be a significant increase for the safety.
Issuing the tag is a no-brainer for the Cincinnati front office who will likely want to keep him around long-term, as he’s been incredibly effective against both run and pass offenses. He logged 88 total tackles in 2021, with 67 of them coming as solos. He notched a single interception last season, which just happened to come at a pivotal moment in Super Bowl 56, giving the Bengals their first turnover of the game and preventing a Rams touchdown late in the second quarter.