Eagles: Jessie Bates could be a potential trade target for Howie

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As team’s begin their voluntary offseason programs, there’s bound to be a few notable absences. Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates is among them this year, as long-term contract discussions have been stagnant between the two parties. The team offered Bates the franchise tag, but the safety has yet to sign it.

According to USA Today’s Tyler Dragon, Bates has no interest playing under the franchise tag.

Bates has publicly said that he doesn’t want to play under the tag as well. When appearing on NFL Now back in February, he said, “That’s something that needs to be discussed at NFLPA a little bit. Some of the top guys got hurt under a franchise tag. It’s tough. You only get one shot at this. You just got to play your cards right, I guess you could say.”

Based on some of the moves the Bengals have made this offseason, it appears they were prepared for this to happen. They drafted safety Dax Hill in the first-round, along with defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt in the second and safety Tycen Anderson at 166th overall.

The team has until July 25 to sign Bates. Dragon writes that Bates has no intention of attending training camp if a deal isn’t done.

With that being said, this could be the perfect opportunity for Howie Roseman to swoop in and get a starting safety for his secondary.

Before Bates was franchise tagged, he was one of the many safeties I had my eye on this offseason. He’s been one of the most reliable safeties in the game since entering the league in 2018. Bates barely leaves the field for Cincy’s defense; he’s played at least 95 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in each of his four seasons.

By Bates’ standards, 2021 was a bit of a down year for him. He finished the year with one interception, four pass defensed, and 88 combined tackles. Those were all career-lows for Bates.

Regardless, at just 25 years old, Bates’ best days are still ahead of him. He’s an obvious upgrade over what the Eagles currently have at the position. Although I like Marcus Epps, his ideal role is around the line of scrimmage as the third safety. Bates primarily lined up as the free safety during his days with Cincy, but he also spent time in the box and in the slot. He can really do it all.

In potential trade discussions revolving around Bates, the Bengals don’t have any leverage here. They could just bank of Bates eventually giving in and showing up, but that probably won’t be the route they take. Since they already have a rookie in place to takeover for Bates, who’s to say they aren’t already entertaining trade talks.

Given the circumstances, Bates could probably be had for a third round pick. If the Bengals want anymore than that, they can kick rocks. You could argue he’s worth a second rounder, but at that point, the Eagles would be better off just spending a future second-round pick at the position, rather than trading away a second for a guy they’ll immediately have to pay.

This Bates situation is still a developing story. For all we know, he could sign a long-term deal tomorrow. But it’s worth keeping an eye on. Howie is no stranger to these types of moves.

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