Jessie Bates III, a fifth-year safety, and the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a contract. Bates was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 and has spent his entire career to this point in Cincinnati.
It's a 4-year deal for$16.005M per year. Wow.
4th highest paid in NFL history https://t.co/mbZH0ze3QE
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023
Jessie Bates III, Atlanta Falcons, Agree to Contract
Arguably one of the best safeties in the league since entering in 2018, Jessie Bates is the definition of a playmaker in the backend. Over five years in the league, Bates has 43 pass deflections and 14 interceptions to his name. Not to mention, Bates has only ever missed three games in his career. Entering 2023, Bates will be 26 years old, and only just entering his prime.
Coming into 2022, Bates was hoping for a relative bounce-back campaign from his usual playmaking standards. That being said, a rift began to arise when Bates wanted an extension, whereas the Bengals wanted to use the franchise tag. Ultimately, Bates played out the franchise tag, betting on himself. Bates missed just the third game of his career in 2022, on his way to starting all 16 games played. On the year, Bates totaled 71 tackles and a career-high four interceptions. Bates also held opposing quarterbacks to a 51.4% completion, the best mark of his career.
He missed one game with a neck injury on his way to starting 16 games, totaling 71 tackles and a career-high four interceptions. Also adding eight pass deflections and a forced fumble, Bates undoubtedly has earned his new contract with the Falcons.
From 2018-2020, Bates established himself around the league as a true ball-hawking free safety. In his first 48 career games (all starts), Bates accumulated nine picks (one touchdown), two forced fumbles, and 320 total tackles. His 15 pass deflections in 2020 even earned Bates his first All-Pro nod, albeit second-team. Although, Bates still awaits that first Pro Bowl nod.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Bates out of Wake Forest with the 54th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Bates flashed his playmaking ability in his final two seasons with the Demon Deacons, with six interceptions over his final two seasons.
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