Former All-Pro safety Jessie Bates has played his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals. After this past season, it appears his time in Cincinnati is all but over.

According to Jay Morrison of The Athletic (via NBC Sports EDGE), Bates is “as good as gone” from the Bengals, and free agency will be tested by the safety when that time comes.

Per NBC Sports EDGE: “Bates was a good solider and played last year on the franchise tag, he’ll likely be one of the NFL’s biggest free agents this offseason with a number of teams pursuing safety help. The Bengals drafted Dax Hill last offseason to take Bates’ spot and though Bates has said he’d love to return to Cincinnati, the actions are speaking louder than the words on Cincinnati’s desire (or lack thereof) to give him a long-term deal.”

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As the report states, Jessie Bates played under the franchise tag last season, which was just under $13 million. It seems the Bengals are willing to move on from Bates, and with the team drafting Dax Hill, Bates might be seen as expendable in Cincinnati’s eyes, especially if it means saving money at the end.

Whether it’s the Bengals or another team, they’ll have a good, young safety in their arsenal. Bates, 25, had four interceptions and a forced fumble to go along with 38 solo tackles in 2022. For his career, he has 326 solo tackles, 14 INTs and three forced fumbles. Bates was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

From these reports, it looks like Cincinnati will have a hole to fill in their secondary heading into the offseason.