The Cincinnati Bengals slapped the dreaded franchise tag on Jessie Bates, but the veteran safety has “no intention” of playing on it. Reports say Bates is set to sit out training camp unless the Bengals sign him to a long-term contract extension. Well, that’s an option.
The other option is for Bates — a second-team All-Pro in 2020 — to force a trade out of Cincinnati. The Philadelphia Eagles have been mentioned as the perfect landing spot for the disgruntled player for almost three months now. He would perfectly fill the security vacuum left by Rodney McLeod. Bates would be a Week 1 starter, leaving Anthony Harris and Jaquiski Tartt to fight for the other spot. And the rumors keep growing about this wish becoming a reality.
CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin recently listed the Eagles at the top of his list of “potential trade destinations” for Bates. Benjamin doubled down on his thinking during a recent appearance on SportsRadio 94WIP, telling Angelo Cataldi, “I think there’s no question that Howie Roseman is inquiring about this, because Jessie Bates is playing the job, the only job really that the Eagles didn’t. address with a major upgrade this offseason.”
Benjamin also included two NFC East rivals like main commercial destinations for Bates. Philadelphia is the team that makes the most sense, though. He wrote the following:
Business-happy chief executive Howie Roseman admittedly struggled to identify long-term answers to safety through the project, and he practices and preaches the importance of building a patient list. So Bates, who played on a Bengals team that employed current Eagles assistant head coach Jemal Singleton, represents the perfect fit for a quiet NFC East contender.
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Craig James freed, placed on open list
Philadelphia has an extra spot on the roster if they wanted to make a move for Bates. The Eagles released the veteran cornerback Craig James on July 18 as the players prepare to report to training camp on July 26.
James has not seen action in any game during the 2021 season, a year after serving as special teams captain under former head coach Doug Pederson. He had a clearance seal pass deviation against the Green Bay Packers in 2019. James appeared in 18 total games and started in midnight green.
What would the Eagles need to trade for Bates?
Trading for Bates is a given, but what would the Eagles have to give up to get him? Andre Dillard is the most logical name, but the first-round bust won’t be enough. Philadelphia should probably sweeten the pot with a draft pick, maybe a third round will.
Or would the Bengals take a flyer on Jalen Reagor in a forfeit with Dillard? And K’Von Wallace? Another idea: The Eagles could offer Isaac Seumalo in a straight trade.
The other issue is that Bates is set to earn $12.9 million on the franchise tag in 2022 and he is seeking a lucrative long-term contract extension. That’s the whole problem in Cincinnati. And the Eagles only have $9 million in salary cap space, per Over the Cap.
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