While Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and the offense get most of the attention, it’s been the defense that’s consistently put this team in position to win most weeks.
A big part of that is having one of the league’s best safeties — Jessie Bates — roaming the secondary and helping this defense rank second in yards per play allowed, fifth in scoring defense, and fourth in opponent yards per pass.
Unfortunately, Bates is currently slated to become a free agent next offseason after the Bengals were unable to sign him to a long-term extension over the summer. The Bengals rarely hand out extensions during the season, but Bates is the kind of player you make the exception for, and one fellow defensive back agrees.
During his Wednesday meeting with local media, Hilton called on the Bengals to give Bates the extension he deserves.
Bengals CB Mike Hilton signing off his presser today: “Extend Jessie Bates.”— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 20, 2021
While it’s unlikely this will affect the Bengals’ chances of re-signing Bates, you have to admire Hilton wanting to see his teammates prosper. Bates is so close to signing his first big NFL contract and setting himself up for the rest of his life, so it’s undoubtedly been tough for him to wait longer than he’d hoped to for that life-changing deal.
Here’s to hoping Hilton and Bates are leading this secondary in the years to come.