Bates has spent the last five years with Cincinnati, accumulating 14 interceptionsTori McElhaney
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons have signed safety Jessie Bates III, the organization announced on Thursday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the news on Monday afternoon.
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ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that this deal would make Bates the fourth-highest paid safety in NFL history, with a four-year deal worth up to $64.02 million and includes $36 million in the first two years of the deal.
Bates would come to the Falcons after having spent his first five years in the league with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was taken by the Bengals in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Since being drafted, Bates established himself as one of the best young safeties in the league, with the Bengals placing a franchise tag on him last year.
The 26-year-old has started every game he's played since entering the league, playing more than 1,000 defensive snaps in each of his five professional seasons. He accumulated 14 interceptions during his five years in Cincinnati, with four of the 14 coming in 2022 (a career-high for him).
Bates is also a five run defender at his position, per PFF, which ranked him the No. 4 player available in free agency. PFF also graded Bates out to a 72.9 coverage grade in 2022.
Bates would join a safety room that includes Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins, who are both still on their rookie deals and started at safety last year. He'd also reunite with Falcons secondary coach Steve Jackson, who coached the defensive backs in Cincinnati from 2020-21.
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