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Bengals likely to place franchise tag on Jessie Bates, per report

A long-term deal appears unlikely for Bates at this time.

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

Time is running out for the Cincinnati Bengals and Jessie Bates III to agree on a contract extension before free agency begins.

If Bates is unsigned by March 14th, clubs aside from the Bengals can legally begin courting him with offers, and he can officially sign elsewhere on March 16th when the NFL league year begins.

That’s unlikely to happen, though, because Bates is expected to be given the franchise tag by the Bengals, per USA Today NFL insider and former Bengals beat writer Tyler Dragon.

The deadline for clubs to use the franchise tag is March 8th, which is this upcoming Tuesday. This gives the Bengals the weekend to try and finalize an extension for the 25-year-old safety. But signs continue to point towards the tag being used for Bates.

Tagging Bates will cost the Bengals roughly $13 million in salary cap space for this year. An extension would’ve slightly lowered that cap hit for this year, but additional free agency plans aren’t likely to be impacted. Bates’ cap number was going to increase no matter what, and the Bengals have surely accounted for that.

While it’s too early to predict whether or not Bates will hold out, he is on record for not wanting to play under the tag.

Cincinnati will end up keeping Bates off the free agent market, but the end goal is to use the following months to continue working towards a long-term deal. The deadline for a tagged player to sign a long-term deal is July 15th, so that will become the new deadline for the Bengals and Bates.