Since being a second-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2018, safety Jessie Bates has only played for the Cincinnati Bengals. However, it seems certain that his time with the team is over and that he will be moving to Atlanta to become the Falcons’ newest safety.
Bates would fill a need—although not the most pressing need on defense—for the Falcons, giving them a proven playmaker on the backend. With him being considered the best safety hitting the open market, he will not come cheap but every indication seems to show that the Falcons will be willing to hand him some money.
Recent rumors and coaching changes send clear signals that Jessie Bates will land with the Falcons
Following a season in which the Atlanta Falcons relied on two young safeties—Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins—it is becoming increasingly likely that one of them (probably Hawkins) will have a reduced role next season with recent developments pointing towards Jessie Bates signing with Atlanta.
First, there was the video of the soon-to-be free agent having dinner with his agent and three Falcons’ players—A.J. Terrell, Casey Hayward, and Kyle Pitts.
Second, there was this recent tweet from Chad Forbes:
And then the most recent development; the Falcons made some changes to their coaching staff which included promoting senior offensive assistant Steve Jackson to the role of secondary coach. Jackson spent 2020 and 2021 as the Bengals’ secondary/cornerbacks coach, so he knows Jessie Bates well.
It is hard to imagine that this all won’t culminate in Bates becoming the newest Falcons player. Steve Jackson has had an elite safety with the past three teams he has coached for—Bates with the Bengals, Jamal Adams with the Jets, and Kevin Byard with the Titans. He will no doubt want a proven player on the backend of the defense and Bates is the best option available.
At this point, I think we would all be more shocked if Bates didn’t sign with Atlanta. There are enough signs to say that it is an inevitability, we will just have to wait for free agency to commence.