The Falcons will be big players in the free agent market this offseason as the club boasts the second most cap space in the league. Atlanta will have plenty of holes to fill, so there will be no shortage of potential targets. Jessie Bates III checks off a lot of boxes, and he was seen over the weekend hanging out with Kyle Pitts, AJ Terrell and Casey Hayward.
Bates played the 2022 season on the franchise tag and is in line for a lucrative, multi-year deal. Not only is he solid in most facets of the game, but Falcons fans should love the idea of signing Bates because he’s incredibly durable. Last year marked his fifth straight 1,000-plus-snap season.
After being taken in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Bates immediately started and has only missed two games in his career. He’s an All-Pro safety that will be 26 years old by the time the 2023 season rolls around. Many consider Jessie Bates to be a rangy ballhawk who can play the center field role in single-high, and pairing him with a young, inexperienced Richie Grant could do wonders for his development.
Spotrac’s market value has Bates garnering a four-year, $42.4 million contract — $10.6 million per year. However, I don’t know how realistic that number is. Not that he’s better than any of the top safeties, but that AAV is substantially lower than the top of the market — Derwin James ($19.1 million per year), Minkah Fitzpatrick ($18.4 million per), and Marcus Williams ($14 million per).
I imagine Bates will be closer to somewhere in the five-year, $65-75 million range. He makes sense in every way — talent, timeline, and personality — and would be a homerun signing for the Falcons.
Photographer: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire
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