There was a lot of debate last year about who was the better safety between Budda Baker and Jessie Bates. Bates struggled in the regular season but did much better in the playoffs. What contributed to his struggles, and will he be back for the Bengals next year?
The rumor is that Bates wasn’t balling out because he was trying to keep himself healthy for his next contract. There’s really no other explanation for it. He played lights-out in 2020, and he had a dominant 2021 postseason.
The man wants to get paid, plain and simple, and the sides are likely headed for a nasty divorce. The expectation is that he’ll report just prior to Week 1 so he won’t miss any game checks, which will be sizeable due to the franchise tag.
Bates will likely be allowed to walk next season, and the Bengals should recoup a third-round compensatory draft pick.
This just isn’t a team that has historically paid safeties big money, and they’ve already got his replacement, first-round pick Dax Hill, waiting in the wings. Hill should see extensive action on Friday night. In fact, all of this year’s draft picks should get an extended look in the preseason opener.
Give us a score prediction for the game.
24-10 Cardinals. But only because I have more confidence in quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Trace McSorley than I do Brandon Allen and Jake Browning. If this was a regular season game with Joey Brr vs. Kyler, I’d pick the Bengals every time, but I just have no confidence in Cincinnati’s backup quarterbacks.