Bates, who had the franchise tag placed on him earlier this offseason, wants a long-term contract. But he hasn’t been able to work out a new deal with the Bengals (mostly because Cincy is being judicious in how they spend their cash with lucrative extensions looming for Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase).
It’s unclear what Bates is hoping to gain by holding out. He can’t work out an extension until next offseason. Even if he’s traded, he’d still have to play on the franchise tag this season (which he still hasn’t signed). My guess is that Bates is just taking his time before eventually reporting. Maybe he just wanted to skip the first portion of training camp.
But just because Bates isn’t at training camp right now, doesn’t mean he’s a bad teammate. In fact, the former Wake Forest star showed this week that he’s a great teammate, even when he’s not around.
Rookie safety Daxton Hill, Bates’ potential replacement in the secondary, shared on Thursday that Bates texted him on Wednesday after the Bengals’ first training camp practice.
Bates reached out to Hill to let him know he’s there if needs anything.
Dax Hill said Jessie Bates texted him after the #Bengals first camp practice yesterday.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) July 28, 2022
"He said it's a blessing to be out there the first day of camp when everything's exciting, and if there's anything you need, just reach out to me."
Hill also pointed out that he plans to watch film with Bates and “pick his brain”.
Hill also said Bates has reached out to him several other times and he plans to sit down with him and watch film "and pick his brain a little bit to try to get some tips."— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) July 28, 2022
What Bates and the Bengals are going through right now is just business. I think fans forget that this is a job for players. Sure, they’re just playing a game. But it’s a demanding lifestyle that leaves very little time off for athletes. And they have to stay in perfect shape while going through life with eyes on their every move. At the same time, they’re trying to maximize their earnings.
All it takes is one injury to end a career. Bates is simply trying to take advantage of what should be the largest contract he’ll ever receive in his pro carer.
The text from Bates to Hill should serve as a reminder that the talented safety loves Cincy and what’s happening between him and the front office right now isn’t personal. Again, it’s just business.
Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports