Falcons sign S Jessie Bates III to 4-year, $64.02 million deal

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The Falcons have not messed around on the first day of the legal tampering period. Ian Rapoport reports Atlanta has signed marquee free agent Jessie Bates III,, and Tom Pelissero reports that it is a four-year, $64.02 million deal.

It was one of the worst kept secrets in the NFL that Atlanta was a free agent destination for Jessie Bates III. 

Everyone believed the Falcons were the frontrunners to sign the premier free agent safety. After playing on the franchise tag in 2022, the former Bengals All-Pro was in line for a lucrative deal and Atlanta had an obvious need for a safety to pair with Richie Grant.

Moreover, Bates was seen recently in public with Kyle Pitts, AJ Terrell, and Casey Hayward, so it’s clear he’s already familiarized himself with Atlanta.

Outside of being a very versatile safety, Bates was one of my personal favorites because of his durability. Last year marked his fifth straight 1,000-plus-snap season, which should be a priority for free agents on a rebuilding team.

That AAV of about $16 million is the fourth-highest mark for safeties. Derwin Jones is the highest paid player at the position ($19 million per year), followed by Minkah Fitzpatrick ($18.247 million per year), and Jamal Adams ($17.5 million). Jessie Bates’ new yearly salary is above Justin Simmons of the Broncos and Budda Baker of the Cardinals.

He was clearly the teams top free agent target this offseason, and the Falcons weren’t going to mess around, giving him $36 million fully guaranteed and $23 million in the first year of the deal. Bates is a nice addition to the secondary that will feature AJ Terrell, Casey Hayward, and Richie Grant. Atlanta still needs a slot defender, but that’s a drastic improvement from last offseason.

Welcome to Atlanta, Jessie Bates III!

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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