In a star-driven league like the NFL, you can never have enough on your roster, especially on defense. So when word came out that the Cincinnati Bengals and safety Jessie Bates could not come to a long-term contract extension, the Dallas Cowboys felt like a natural connection — and the team should be ready to pounce. Bates was given the franchise tag earlier this offseason, and the Bengals were unable to reach a long-term deal with the safety before the deadline.
Bates has already made it clear he will not play next season on the franchise tag. Now, the only remaining options for Bates this next season are sitting out the year or demanding a trade in hopes of signing a long-term deal with another team.
The Cowboys should be aware of this situation, and will hopefully make a call to Cincinnati to see how much it would cost to acquire the former All-Pro.
From the Cowboys’ perspective, they can acquire the 25-year-old safety for a cheap package because they then would have to pay him about $16 million per year, the going rate for a top-tier safety. Also, Dallas would have to wait until after the 2022 season for the long-term deal with Bates. Since no deal can be done this year, Bates could be seen as a rental, and that makes his trade package cheaper. Even if only acquired for the 2022 season alone, he could help vault their defense into the top-tier.
The Cowboys have never shown to be fully invested in the safety position. Most years, they try to sign a few cheap players just to create a patchwork safety position. Last year, that strategy worked, as they were able to find Jayron Kearse as a diamond in the rough. Even though the Cowboys just gave Kearse a new deal, Bates will fit in nicely alongside him. Kearse is elite around the line of scrimmage and Bates is elite in coverage. To be exact, Kearse led all safeties in tackles for loss last season with nine.
While Bates may not show up much in the box score, his impact is still felt on the field.
The former second-round pick has proven to be an elite coverage player due to his anticipation and range. He also has the size to shut down some of the best tight ends in the league. Despite only having one interception last year, Bates had three in each of his first three NFL seasons. Having Trevon Diggs gives the Cowboys a primary ball-hawking defensive back, so having more stable coverage guys behind him will help the defense immensely.
Overall, this should be a trade the Cowboys look to make. Jerry Jones has always loved to make splash moves, and this would be just that. The Cowboys would be the talk of the town after a trade like this and, most importantly, it should help them win football games.