Days before Friday's deadline for franchise tagged players to net a multi-year contract, Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates shared a message:
It's the first time Bates has tweeted since March.
Friday at 4 p.m. ET, marks the deadline for Bates to reach a long-term contract with Cincinnati.
A second-round pick in 2018, Bates is a rangy playmaker and was a key to the Bengals' run to the Super Bowl last season. He's generated 10 interceptions, 35 passes defended and 408 tackles in his first four seasons.
The franchise tag for safeties sits at $12.9 million, well below the $18.24 million per season that the Pittsburgh Steelers' Minkah Fitzpatrick recently signed for on an extension. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported last week that there wasn't a ton of optimism that the Bengals were willing to bridge that gap on an extension with Bates.
If no long-term deal comes to fruition this week, Bates, who has not signed his franchise tender, could skip the start of training camp. The Bengals begin camp on July 26. A franchise-tagged player who has not signed his tender is not under contract and therefore not subject to fines.