Well, this is not the news we wanted to hear today.
“The Bengals and safety Jesse Bates III are not expected to reach a contract extension at this time, per source,” Fowler wrote on Twitter. “Sides not progressing toward a deal. Bates, a 2022 free agent, is a major player coming off three interceptions, 15 pass breakups a year ago.”
Bates, a 2018 second-round pick out of Wake Forest, is entering the final year of his rookie season after becoming an All-Pro last season.
It’s unclear if the Bengals and Bates are tabling contract talks or if they’re just going so poorly that there’s little-to-no hope of a deal getting done.
Either way, this is not what the Bengals needed going into a make-or-break year for head coach Zac Taylor. Bates is easily the Bengals’ best player right now, and both sides were very hopeful a deal could be reached.
Let’s hope things change in the coming weeks and both sides are able to hammer out a deal. Otherwise, Bates is at risk of either hitting free agency next offseason or being franchise tagged, which he’ll be absolutely trying to avoid, and rightfully so.
Pay the man.