Jessie Bates III has emerged as one of the best safeties in the National Football League.
The fourth-year player has developed into one of the NFL’s best safeties.
He had 109 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble, and 15 passes defensed last season. Bates was also Pro Football Focus’ highest rated safety in 2020.
Bates is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is looking ahead to a possible extension with Cincinnati.
"Anytime [there is] contract extension [talk], then you get very excited,” Bates said. “I feel like I'm a core piece in Cincinnati. My family's three hours away, so I would love to be here. But my main goal is to take that next level that I keep saying as a leader on this team.”
Bates has taken that next step on the team as a leader this offseason. He played a huge role in organizing the perfect attendance for the Bengals’ organized team activities [OTAs] after being named the Cincinnati’s NFLPA rep upon Geno Atkins’ release.
Extending Bates won't come cheap for the Bengals. Broncos safety Justin Simmons signed a four-year/$61 million contract in March that made him the highest-paid safety in the league.
Budda Baker's four-year, $59 million deal with the Cardinals is second. Eddie Jackson isn't far behind after signing a four-year, $58.4 million contract with the Bears.
Bates hired the highly touted agent David Mulugheta of Athletes First to handle the extension process. Mulugheta was the world’s number one NFL agent in 2020 according to Forbes. He represents plenty of stars, including Deshaun Watson, Jalen Ramsey and Michael Thomas.
Bates has a desire to stay in Cincinnati. He believes the team is building something special and likes his expanded role. Expect contract extension talks to heat up around training camp.
"I made a change with my agent last year for this reason. I think a lot of guys focus too much on it, but I feel very comfortable with the change that I made," Bates said. "He knows what he’s doing. It’s not his first time doing it. The money part of it will come. I just want to win. That’s all I care about is winning. The money part of it will come. Not just for me, but for everybody in this program."
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