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An integral part of Cincinnati's defense is absent as training camp begins.
Bengals safety Jessie Bates did not report to camp on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported, per a source.
Bates' absence has been the expectation all along as he looks for a long-term commitment from the club. The Bengals designated the franchise tag to Bates during the offseason, but Bates has yet to sign the $12.9 million tender for the 2022 season. Pelissero adds that because he hasn't signed his franchise tag, Bates isn't subject to fines for his absence, which could go on for awhile.
NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Tuesday that the Bengals remain confident Bates will be ready to play whenever he shows. Garafolo adds that there are no indications as of now the team is willing to entertain trading Bates.
Bates, a second-round draft pick by the Bengals in 2018, has gotten progressively better since earning a starting role his rookie season. The 25-year-old has only missed three games in four years, producing 408 tackles, 10 interceptions, 35 passes defensed, two fumbles forced and two fumble recoveries so far in his young career.
Bates really stepped his game up during the 2021 season, providing several key defensive plays during the Bengals' recent playoff run, including an INT in Super Bowl LVI.
After providing four years great play on the back end of Cincinnati's defense, Bates is willing to elongate his absence in order to get a long-term commitment.
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