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Bengals Offseason Needs

Jessie Bates emergence as a star safety will make him the identity of this defense for years to come. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

Jessie Bates Signs with the Atlanta Falcons

Jessie Bates
(AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

Jessie Bates Signs with the Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have signed free agent safety Jessie Bates. The contract is reportedly for four years, and worth as much as 64 million dollars. Entering his sixth NFL season, Bates had been regarded as one of the best available free agents. He will be expected to help bolster a Falcons secondary that ranked twenty second in the NFL during 2022.

Jessie Bates signed a franchise tag last offseason worth 13 million dollars. Bates and Cincinnati were unable to reach an agreement on a long term extension since then. Franchise tagging him for a second time would require a 20% raise in salary from the previous year. Notoriously stingy owner Mike Brown must have felt that Bates was not deserving of being paid as a top five NFL safety. Luckily for Bates, the Falcons feel that he is. The Falcons will expect him to have an immediate impact based on his success in Cincinnati.

Bates is an Underrated NFL Safety

A second round pick out of Wake Forest, Jessie Bates has quietly been in a consistent presence in the NFL. Bates undeniably played a crucial role on the Bengals defense during their resurgence over the last two years. Playing some of his best football during the Bengals Super Bowl run in 2021. Picking off Ryan Tannehill on the first play of the divisional round set the tone for the upset of first seed Tennessee. Bates also intercepted an end zone pass from Matthew Stafford in the Bengals Super Bowl 56 loss.

He has averaged just under 100 tackles and three interceptions per season. He has also only missed one game in his five year NFL career. The Bengals allowing a consistently good player like Jessie Bates to walk in free agency will effect their defense in 2023. The Falcons will be counting on Bates to continue his consistent play and help lead their secondary. Signing Bates in free agency is the second major move Atlanta has made in the offseason. Trading for New England tight end Jonnu Smith and Bates is the most active Atlanta has been in free agency in a while.

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