clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bengals opt not to use franchise tag as deadline passes

Cincinnati could’ve used it to keep Germaine Pratt or Jessie Bates III, but that was never going to happen.

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

The deadline to franchise tag players has passed, and as expected, the Cincinnati Bengals have passed on using it.

Coming into the deadline, there was little-to-no chance of the Bengals using it, despite having a pair of candidates in safety Jessie Bates III and linebacker Germaine Pratt. While they’re important players, the tag would have put them on one-year contracts that weren’t advantageous to the team.

Tagging Bates for a second-straight year would have cost well over $15 million. Tagging Pratt would cost over $20 million.

Bates III is expected to hit the open market and could command an annual salary of over $14 million annually. The market for Pratt should be strong as well. They were key players for the Bengals, especially as their defense played a key factor in another AFC Championship Game run.

Both players were also drafted by Cincinnati, so it is both a positive and negative that the team is struggling to retain homegrown talent, clearly meaning they have been drafting well as of late.

The Bengals also got a small win with Lamar Jackson getting the non-exclusive franchise tag, which means he will be able to talk to other teams in the free agency process.