American Football

Jessie Bates to Falcons, per report


NFL: JAN 30 AFC Conference Championship - Bengals at Chiefs
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

JBIII finally gets his payday.

Jessie Bates appears to have found his new NFL home.

According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, Bates is signing with the Atlanta Falcons. It’s reportedly worth $64 million.

This concludes Bates’ five-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bates, entering his sixth NFL season this year, was originally a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Considering he was the 54th-overall pick, it’s safe to call Bates one of the best defensive draft picks the Bengals have ever made.

Since then, Bates has become one of the NFL’s best free safeties while also playing in virtually every game over the last five seasons. He’s been instrumental in helping the Bengals make back-to-back AFC Championships while making it all the way to Super Bowl LVI during the 2021-22 season.

For his career, Bates has accounted for 479 tackles, 43 pass deflections, 14 interceptions, six tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown.

Bates is coming off a season in which he played under the franchise tag after the Bengals were unable to sign him to a long-term extension. Going into this offseason, the wide assumption was that Bates had played his last down in Cincinnati.

Of course, the Bengals would have loved to re-sign Bates, as he’s played a major part in helping the Bengals rise from the ashes of a bottom-feeding franchise to becoming a legitimate championship contender.

However, the Bengals are about to hand out the biggest contract in franchise history to quarterback Joe Burrow. They’re also planning to sign guys like Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Logan Wilson to huge extensions over the next 1–2 years, leaving little, if any room to even make a competitive offer to keep Bates.

Best of luck to Bates as he begins the next chapter of what’s been a special NFL career thus far! And thanks for the memories!

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