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Should the Bengals place franchise tag on Jessie Bates or let him test free agency?

The franchise tag has a ton of benefits to retaining a player like Jessie Bates, but there are some downsides, and Bates obviously wants a fair market deal.

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

UPDATE

Jessie Bates has been tagged.


The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to use the franchise tag on safety Jessie Bates while working towards a long term contract.

The franchise tag is a bit polarizing. For the Bengals, if they can’t come to terms on a deal by July 15th, they will guarantee Bates roughly $13 million for the 2022 season. The benefit is the team doesn’t have to worry about another team swooping in and outbidding them.

On the players’ side it is all pretty frustrating. Playing a sport with such a high risk of injury and minimal amount of times for productive players to sign a new contract, losing a year of opportunity can be very upsetting.

Bates would easily be one of the biggest names if he were to reach the open market, which means settling for the franchise tag is a huge hit to the money he could be making.

Almost as big of a deal for the player is not securing that long-term deal to provide some security and peace of mind. If Bates gets injured on the franchise tag — similar to what happened to Chris Godwin this past season — he would likely have to take a short-term prove-it deal and show he’s the same player before having this same opportunity.

That can hang over a player’s head when deciding how much they should participate in offseason activities or making “business decisions” (avoiding big hits) during a game.

Bates himself admitted to not being focused enough in the first half of the 2021 season after not getting a long-term deal before the season began.

The one thing fans can hold onto right now is it seems both sides still want to end up working this out. This is just the ugly business side of the NFL.

Hypothetically, if Cincinnati were to allow Bates to hit the open market, it could provide a proper measuring stick of his value to the team based on deals he is offered. It would also allow Bates to face the reality that most teams offering those bigger contracts aren’t going to be the caliber of team the Bengals currently are.

Ideally, this would lead to both sides giving a little in order to come together. That is obviously extremely risky for Cincinnati, however, when the franchise tag is a much safe options.

The last downside for the team is having to account for the $13 million for Bates’ tag. We all know the Bengals are pretty conservative with how much of their cap they like to keep open. The $13 million would be far higher than the hit of a long term contract would have on the team’s cap space. That could mean the team misses out on a possible free agent in the open market that could have fit in that space.

What do you think? Is using the franchise tag worth possibly upsetting the Bengals’ star safety?

Poll

Should the Bengals use the franchise tag on Jessie Bates?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Yes. Keeping Bates is a must, no matter what.
    (196 votes)
  • 20%
    No. Let him test the market.
    (110 votes)
  • 42%
    Just give the man his money now, Bengals.
    (222 votes)
528 votes total Vote Now

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