Jessie Bates and the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t see eye-to-eye on a long-term contract.
The Bengals ended up slapping the star safety with the franchise tag. The hope is still that a long-term deal gets sorted out, but regardless, Bates has returned to the field following his holdout.
What he was going to look like in terms of his physical and mental preparedness was always in question, but head coach Zac Taylor, who never seemed concerned, reiterated how well Bates has looked since returning.
“I forget that he missed time to be honest with you. I think he did a really good job taking care of himself. We wanted to be cautious as we integrated him back into what we were doing. He’s a got a great understanding of what we’re doing, and he’s up to speed on any tweaks that we made, and we expect him to be out there every down,” Taylor said via Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson.
Bates was among the bright spots on the Bengals defense last season, a side of the ball that was arguably the more important of the two during the team’s first Super Bowl run since the last 1980s.
A leader in the secondary, Bates was originally a second-round pick out of Wake Forest. He was immediately made a starter on the 2018 team and then was with Cincinnati for their 2-14 2019 campaign.
Bates continued to improve and his three digits in combined tackles in each of his first three seasons in the league. He should be primed to play with a vengeance this season as it will be a contract year, and his play could be indicative of what his market value is.
That said, he’s looking spry, and after a holdout, that’s all one can reasonably ask for. Here’s to hoping he’s about to kick off another standout season in Week 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.