CINCINNATI — Bengals star safety Jessie Bates didn't show up for voluntary offseason workouts this week.
Plenty of veterans showed up, including Joe Burrow, Vonn Bell, DJ Reader and La'el Collins.
The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Bates this offseason. He's set to make nearly $13 million in 2022, but doesn't have any long-term security since the franchise tag is a one-year contract.
Veteran cornerback Mike Hilton has been in Bates' corner since he signed with Cincinnati last offseason. He's hoping the two sides can come to an agreement.
"Yeah, we’ve been talking all offseason. Everybody in that locker room wants Jessie to get what he deserves," Hilton said. "We know as a team, he’s a cornerstone piece for this franchise. On my end, I’m going to do what I can do to keep pushing and keep putting it out there for him to sign long term. If it happens, great. But also, everybody knows the business side of the NFL. And nobody would be upset or pissed at him if he didn’t show up or he ended up going somewhere else. It’s just part of the game. But he knows that everybody in this locker room wants him here."
It isn't surprising to see a player skip voluntary workouts, especially a veteran that might have to play on the franchise tag.
Bates is coming off of a season where he posted career-lows in tackles (88), passes defensed (four) and interceptions (one). He did come alive in the playoffs, finishing with 20 tackles, six passes defensed and two interceptions in four contests.
The team has until July 15 to sign Bates to a multi-year extension.
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