CINCINNATI — Jessie Bates III is playing in Cincinnati for at least one more season.
The Bengals placed a franchise tag on their star safety before Tuesday's deadline. Now 25, Cincinnati drafted Bates in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has played and started in 63 games for the Bengals, recording 406 tackles and 10 interceptions.
In Cincinnati's postseason run, Bates had two interceptions, six pass deflections and 20 tackles.
"Jessie has been an important part of this organization both on the field and in the locker room," said Bengals coach Zac Taylor. "I’m excited about the opportunity for Jessie to be with us again this year as we continue to improve our team."
Teammates Mike Hilton and Logan Wilson were outspoken in their support of the Bengals extending Bates this offseason.
"Hey @Bengals just throwing this out…… EXTEND (Bates) 🤷🏾♂️," Hilton tweeted in February.
The franchise tag means Bates and the Bengals can negotiate on a long-term deal until July 15. If Bates does not have an extension in place by then, he will play the 2022 season on the tag.
Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn said the team tried to work out an extension for Bates ahead of the franchise tag deadline.
"Over the past year, we've tried to extend his contract here in Cincinnati, and while that hasn't come to pass, we want him here for 2022 to be a part of what we think should be an exciting football season and bright future for our organization," Blackburn said.
One of the top-rated players on the Bengals roster, Bates was praised by quarterback Joe Burrow for his leadership during the 2021 season.