Raiders Urged to Sign All-Pro Projected to Land $42 Million Contract

jessie bates

Getty Cincinnati Bengals DB Jessie Bates.

Though the 2022 NFL season is still finishing up, the Las Vegas Raiders have been looking ahead to free agency for weeks now. Replacing Derek Carr at quarterback is the first order of business but there are needs all over the roster, especially on defense. The team’s defensive backfield could look entirely different next season outside of cornerback Nate Hobbs.

The Raiders have tried to find long-term solutions at safety for years but haven’t had any luck. 2021 second-round pick Tre’von Moehrig looked like he’d be a star defensive back for years to come but he looked much worse in his second season. There’s a chance he won’t even be back in 2023. The Raiders could always address the position in the draft but there are some good options in free agency.

Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates had to play on the franchise tag in 2022 after he couldn’t agree on a long-term deal. The Bengals would love to keep him but he could prove to be too expensive with a mega contract extension heading Joe Burrow’s way. Jake Rill of Bleacher Report believes that Bates is one of the top free agents the Raiders need to target this offseason:

If Las Vegas is willing to spend big on a free-agent safety, then Jessie Bates III is an obvious target. He is set to hit the market for the first time after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 25-year-old has been a reliable presence in Cincinnati’s secondary throughout his career, and he’s a big reason why the Bengals are heading to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year.

Bates Projected to Get $42 Million Contract

Similar to running backs, safeties don’t make a ton of money compared to other positions. If the Raiders wanted to add Bates, it might not cost too much money. According to Spotrac, Bates’ market value for his next contract would be worth $42.5 million over four years. However, Spotrac’s projection could be low.

Derwin James of the Los Angeles Chargers is the NFL’s highest-paid safety and he’s making $19 million a year. Bates isn’t James and he shouldn’t be paid the same amount. That said, he will want to get paid in the range of Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who is making $15.25 million a year. That’s a lot of money for a safety. The Raiders would love to upgrade the position but that money should be used on a cornerback and/or a defensive tackle.

Other Safety Options in Free Agency

With so many other needs on defense, the Raiders may not be keen to splurge on a safety. Fortunately, there should be some other cheaper options in free agency. Bates’ teammate on the Bengals Von Bell will also be a free agent. He’s a solid player and would cost a lot less. The Raiders could likely get him for a contract of around $10 million a year.

If the team wants to go even cheaper, Jabril Peppers could be a player they look at. The former first-round pick spent two years being coached by Raiders defensive coordinators Patrick Graham when they were both with the New York Giants. He started 19 games at safety before moving to the New England Patriots this season. He’s an obvious fit with the Raiders’ coaching staff and would be a very cheap option. He only made $2 million this season.

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