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Jessie Bates ends holdout, signs franchise tag

Bates is back.

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Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Bates has officially signed his franchise tender, putting him under contract for the 2022 season.

In addition to Bates being re-signed, the Bengals placed fellow safety Brandon Wilson on the Reserve/PUP list, and waived quarterback Drew Plitt to get the roster down to 80 players. Wilson will miss at least the first four weeks of the regular season as he continues to recovers from his torn ACL.

For now, Bates will be placed on the exempt list, meaning he won’t count against the Bengals’ roster for up to two weeks. He can activated at any time during the two week period.

Jessie Bates has finally returned to the Cincinnati Bengals.

A day before the team starts joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams, Bates made his long-awaited arrival to the Bengals’ facilities. Kelsey Conway of had it first.

Linebacker Germaine Pratt posted a video of Bates in the locker room on his Instagram, confirming his presence in the building.

The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Bates this offseason after the two sides couldn’t agree to a contract extension. Bates began his holdout before OTAs back in May, and it continued through training camp after the July 15th deadline for an extension passed.

Reports claimed Bates was willing to sit out for the season if no deal was reached, but considering his lack of leverage in the situation, it was always unlikely for him to miss out on an entire 17-game slate and forfeit his nearly $13 million salary.

Bates still hasn’t officially signed his franchise tender, but him being back in the building indicates that’s a formality.

Now with their 2020 second-team All-Pro free safety back in the fold, the Bengals will now work on integrating first-round pick Dax Hill in with Bates and Vonn Bell. Hill has been starting in Bates’ place this offseason and has had a tremendous preseason thus far.

The return of Bates, at least for this season, gives them an elite three-safety triumvirate to work with.