The Los Angeles Chargers' Derwin James became the NFL's highest-paid safety in history when he signed a four-year, $76.4 million extension on Wednesday. Naturally, Cincinnati Bengals fans are wondering what the record-breaking deal could mean for their own talented safety, Jessie Bates.
It turns out that insider Matt Lombardo has an idea. According to league sources, Lombardo reports that the feeling around the NFL is that Bates will be the next safety to sign a monster deal. The only thing is that's not expected to happen until 2023.
That could be problematic to some fans considering that Bates is already holding out of training camp and doesn't intend to play on the franchise tag that was signed back in March.
Jessie Bates Contract Rumors
That wasn't the only rumor that Lombardo reported. He also adds that "whether the Bengals extend Bates or he surpasses James' $74.5 million" hinges on his 2022 performance. Holding out of any part of the regular season due to the franchise tag could hurt his cause.
If Bates wants to get paid, he must bounce back after last year's down performance. After being second-team All-Pro in 2020, he finished 2021 with career-lows in tackles (88), defended passes (4) and interceptions (1). He also allowed an 80.0% completion rate and 122.0 passer rating when target.
The former Demon Deacon did bounce back during the Bengals' miraculous playoff run, recording a pair of interceptions and four broken-up passes in four games.
Fortunately, Bates' holdout doesn't seem to impact his teammates negatively. Joe Burrow told reporters earlier this week that the Bengals will welcome their safety "with open arms" after "his business is over."
The good news for Bates is that his agent, David Mulugheta, was the one who penned James' new extension. Only time will tell if Mulugheta can produce the same results for the 25-year-old defender.
Bengals Super Bowl Odds
If the Bengals want to return to the Super Bowl, they need Bates to be present and back to his old self. For now, Cincinnati's +2200 odds to win Super Bowl LVII are tied for 11th-best on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.