Bates has consistently been one of the best and most underrated players in the league. Bates finished his rookie contract racking up 10 interceptions, 35 pass deflections, two forced fumbles and more than 400 tackles. After tallying at least 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons, Bates’ 88 tackles and one interception in 2021 were each career-lows.
He has started all 63 games he’s been active for. Bates has only missed two games in his career thus far.
Bates was tagged for a salary of just over $12 million for the 2022 season — his fifth in the NFL. According to multiple league reports, the Wake Forest alum will likely be asking for something in the range of $17 million annually.
With the selection of Michigan safety Daxton Hill with their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bengals could be planning for Bates to test free agency after the season. Hill was the first of two safeties selected by Cincinnati in the most recent draft. Cincinnati later selected Toledo’s Tycen Anderson in the fifth round.