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NFL Rumors: Jessie Bates, Bengals' Contract Situation Has Made 'No Tangible Progress'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2022

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals and Jessie Bates III have made "no tangible progress" on a new contract, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler

Fowler added that it's unclear "how close to the top of the market Cincinnati is willing to get" in order to retain Bates.

Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on the veteran safety in March, but Tyler Dragon of USA Today reported Bates doesn't intend to play on the one-year tender.

Dragon added that "negotiations have stalled" between the two sides, mirroring Fowler's most recent reporting.

July 15 is the deadline for the Bengals and Bates to strike a bargain. Once that date passes, a long-term contract is off the table for the remainder of the offseason.

While there are still almost two months before the rubber meets the road, Dragon and Fowler's reports don't generate much optimism. The longer this situation drags on, the more of Cincinnati's offseason workouts Bates will miss, too.

The 25-year-old has every reason to believe he should be paid like one of the best players at his position. He had 100-plus tackles and three interceptions in each of his first three seasons before finishing with 88 tackles and one interception in 2021.

In the postseason, Bates made a critical pass breakup in overtime that led to Vonn Bell's interception in the AFC Championship Game.

NFL @NFL

INTERCEPTED BY VONN BELL.<br><br>THE BENGALS CAN WIN IT WITH A FG. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CINvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CINvsKC</a> on CBS<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/dKNUFkxkbU">https://t.co/dKNUFkxkbU</a> <a href="https://t.co/nJk7A8PqJR">pic.twitter.com/nJk7A8PqJR</a>

He also intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass in the end zone in the second quarter of the Super Bowl.

Cincinnati Bengals @Bengals

.<a href="https://twitter.com/jlbiii3?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jlbiii3</a>, BALLHAWK 🤫<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SuperBowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SuperBowl</a> on NBC <a href="https://t.co/rHDqAUqTm4">pic.twitter.com/rHDqAUqTm4</a>

The Bengals have long been considered a frugal organization, a claim that isn't without merit. But the franchise has often rewarded its best players. Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Geno Atkins were all key figures on the last squad that was a regular playoff contender, and they received lucrative extensions keeping them around for a long time.

Per Over the Cap, Cincinnati has spent $123.6 million in free agency this offseason, too, though only $36.6 million of that money is guaranteed. Coming off last year's success, one would expect the front office to view Bates as a valuable long-term asset.

By selecting Michigan safety Daxton Hill in the first round of the 2022 draft, however, the Bengals might already be lining up a succession plan for Bates.

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