The Cincinnati Bengals and their safety, Jessie Bates, have yet to come to an agreement on a long-term contract. The team attempted to franchise tag Bates, but he’s refused and has stated publicly that he won’t attend training camp if he doesn’t have a contract in place. If the two sides can’t get something done, a trade could be on the horizon and the Philadelphia Eagles might be a team to watch.
The team has until July 15 to sign Bates. At this point, it doesn’t appear either side is close to a deal. The Bengals took a few defensive backs in last month’s NFL Draft, including Michigan safety Daxton Hill in the first-round, so they may be willing to let this Bates’ situation play out.
If push comes to shove, Bates could eventually ask for a trade. Whether that’s before camp or during the season is still up in the air. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine recently predicted that the Philadelphia Eagles would be the team that engages Cincy in trade talks, but not until the 2022 NFL trade deadline. Ballentine writes:
“While the Bengals could let Bates play out the season and wait for the compensatory-pick formula to help them out, it also stands to reason they would listen to trade offers.
If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles pursue the safety. Philadelphia had been linked to Tyrann Mathieu before he signed with the New Orleans Saints, and it has an obvious need at safety.”Way-Too-Early Bold Predictions for the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline
Eagles GM Howie Roseman has been very aggressive this offseason. He’s made multiple high profile signings during free agency and he swung for the fences during draft night, trading up for Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis and trading for Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Brown. With all of these moves, the one area Roseman failed to address was his secondary.
The team lost starting safety Rodney McLeod in free agency, as he opted to sign with the Indianapolis Colts. As of right now, the starting safety duo in Philly figures to be Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps. It’s not the worst safety tandem in football, but it could certainly be better.
Jessie Bates could prove to be the final piece for the Eagles in 2022. As Ballentine points out, “The Eagles should be competitive in the NFC East, and by the middle of the season they might feel that adding a safety of Bates’ caliber would make them a lock for the playoffs.”