The Cincinnati Bengals might have to start training camp this summer without one of their top defensive players.
According to Tyler Dragon of USA TODAY, Bengals safety Jessie Bates III has no intentions of playing under the franchise tag. As a result, he's not expected to attend OTAs or report to training camp.
Bates has been an integral part of Cincinnati's defense for the past few years. This past season, he had 88 tackles, four passes defended, an interception and a fumble recovery.
This news shouldn't be that surprising because Bates has made it known he doesn't want to play the 2022 season on the franchise tag.
“We will see. Hopefully I am not under a franchise tag. You just gotta play your cards right," Bates said in February, via All Bengals. "Hopefully I will still be a part of that in Cincinnati. There is a lot of good things to come, whether I am there or not."
If the Bengals want Bates around for the long haul, they may have to compromise on a new deal.
On the other hand, the Bengals did select Daxton Hill in the first round of this year's draft. They might just be preparing for a future without Bates.