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Jessie Bates trending toward Falcons?

Bates is set to hit free agency next month.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to potential fits for Cincinnati Bengals free agent safety Jessie Bates III, one team in the NFC seems to be leading the race.

Per NFL Draft analyst Chad Forbes, the Atlanta Falcons are that team.

“Told many would be surprised if Falcons didn’t sign Jessie Bates III,” Forbes tweeted. “A GM & new defensive coordinator that have spent heavily on safeties in the past.”

This isn’t the first connection between Bates and the Falcons. The impending free agent was seen dining with several Atlanta players along with mutual agent David Mulugheta last week. Unofficial tampering is already in play.

The fit also just makes sense. Bates is the top safety hitting the market this season, the Falcons have ample amounts of cap space, and desperately need talent everywhere on defense. The Dirty Birds ranked 30th in weight defensive DVOA, and 29th against the pass after starting third-year player Jaylinn Hawkins at free safety for most of the season. Their need at the position is dire.

NFL free agency officially opens in three weeks time. Where do you think Bates will end up? Let us know in the comments below.