Franchised Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Jessie Bates III sees 2022 as the NFL season to show himself and earn money.
CLEVELAND — Jessie Bates III, a safety with the Bengals, has long wished to establish himself as a top performer in his position.
The fifth-year player, who signed his franchise tender on Tuesday, stated that the next 2022 season will provide him another opportunity to exhibit his abilities before receiving a potential payment.
Bates said on Wednesday, "It's a terrific opportunity to continue showcasing what I'm about and who I am to this club and other teams as well. Like I said, I view this as a chance to demonstrate why I am among the league's top safeties.
Earlier this week, the former Wake Forest star gave his first press conference since re-joining the squad. After the Bengals and Bates were unable to agree on a long-term contract, Bates missed the majority of training camp as well as the team's offseason workouts.
The 25-year-old was chosen as team captain last year and had two interceptions in the postseason, one of which came in the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl LVI defeat.
Bates claimed to have given the best time to return a lot of thought. He made the decision to return a week before camp was scheduled to end and as the club was getting ready for two joint practices with the Rams.
The other safety in Cincinnati's starting pair, Vonn Bell, said he was aware that his "right-hand man" will be returning to the squad soon. Just until he showed up at the team's downtown facility on Tuesday morning, he didn't know just when that moment would be.
Then I turned around and asked, "What's up, 30?" Bell mentioned the number on Bates' jersey. "And we exchanged hugs before he left to complete his physical."
Bates and Bengals coach Zac Taylor reportedly kept in touch and had "excellent chats" while he thought about joining the team again. Bates will be able to complete a lot of high-quality work as he gets ready for the team's season-opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11, according to Taylor, who described his star safety as a professional.
He is currently listed as exempt by the commissioner. The team has two weeks to use that roster exemption, although they are always free to completely activate him. During Wednesday's joint practice, Bates participated in a few individual drills but stayed away from team drills as he continues his acclimatization process.
But it was more than pleasant to even see one of the team's best players.
Taylor said that it had been excellent for him to be present during walk-throughs as one of our team's leaders. "It's definitely given the team a lot of enthusiasm."
On the one-year franchise tender this year, Bates is expected to receive $12.9 million. Contract negotiations between Bates and the Bengals must wait until the current season is completed.
Dax Hill, a former Michigan safety, was selected by Cincinnati in the first round of this year's draft. In Bates' absence, Hill has taken over as the team's starting free safety, and on Sunday, the team played the New York Giants in a preseason game in which Hill had an interception.
Bates claimed on Wednesday that he was aware of the NFL's commercial aspect. Bates recalled that the team already had two proven players at the position when he was selected in the 2018 draft. Bates started from Week 1 of his rookie season until Week 4 of last season, when he missed a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when one of those players, George Iloka, was released in favor of the player on a rookie deal.
Bates is currently the veteran who could be replaced.
Man, it's a cycle, Bates remarked. "It belongs to the league. Like I stated, most people steer clear of the awkward conversations. Here I am. I am aware of my values. I can deal with it."
But in light of that, he said that he is anxious to demonstrate just how useful he can be to the Bengals and the other 31 NFL teams.
Every year has always been a contract year for me, and I've always wanted to be respected in the league, Bates said. "I'm going to show who Jessie Bates is on and off the field, whether it's here, which is where I would love it to be, or somewhere else."