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Jessie Bates III would reportedly “love” to play with Deshaun Watson

Yes, you read that correctly.

NFL: AFC Championship-Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are set to lose Jessie Bates III this offseason. It’s a tough position the team will be placed in with other priorities at the forefront of their mind.

Retaining talents like Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, and Ja’Marr Chase, along with those like Logan Wilson on the defensive side of the ball should be the play for the front office.

Unfortunately, that could mean their former second-round draft pick slips away. In further disappointment, he may join the Cleveland Browns and Deshaun Watson, whom Bates shares an agent with.

“Bengals safety Jessie Bates III, a 2020 second-team All-Pro, would love to play with Watson if he hits the market. The problem is, Bates’ market value is about $14 million a year, according to Spotrac, and the price could climb if teams get into a bidding war for the premier available safety,”’s Mary Kay Cabot reports.

Bates has been a stud for Cincinnati since being drafted in 2018. However, the addition of Dax Hill in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft seemed like the writing on the wall.

Bates’ play also slipped during the season as he recorded a career-low 71 combined tackles. He only had eight passes defended, which is below his career-high 15 from 2020, but there’s no question he’s still one of the league’s best free safeties.

The bidding war for the star could start to heat up with free agency nearing, and it seems the Bengals will quickly not be in the picture for that. Bates has played at least 15 games for Cincinnati in all five seasons, so his consistency is certainly something teams will be eyeing as well.

Now 26 years old, Bates will get eight figures per year, just not likely from the Bengals.