Cowboys Acquire All-Pro in ‘Blockbuster’ Trade Proposal

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could make a move for Bengals safety Jessie Bates.

The Dallas Cowboys could possibly pull off a “blockbuster” trade.

In a list of “blockbuster” trade scenarios compiled by Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report, one of the possible deals sees the Cowboys acquiring safety Jessie Bates III from the Cincinnati Bengals for a 2023 second-round draft pick. Moton argues that Bates’ current unhappiness with his contract situation in Cincinnati combined with the Cowboys’ need for a stable safety makes the deal worth exploring.

“The Cincinnati Bengals designated Jessie Bates III as their franchise-tagged player, but they’re currently in a financial standoff with the fifth-year safety,” says Moton.

“If the Bengals shop Bates, the Dallas Cowboys may have an interest in him because of a moderate need at the position and $22.5 million to spend in cap space,” Moton continues. “Bates would have to sign the franchise tag to facilitate the trade, but if the Cowboys agree to pay him, he shouldn’t have any issues going to another playoff-caliber team that just won its division.”

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Bates Unwilling to Play Under Franchise Tag

The 25-year-old Bates did not report to the start of Bengals training camp as he continues to seek a long-term deal. Cincinnati placed the $12.9 million franchise tag on Bates back in March. As CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reports, the 2020 Second Team All-Pro selection has no plans of playing under the franchise tag.

“I’m told #Bengals S Jessie Bates has no intentions of reporting to training camp, nor playing on the franchise tag, per league source,” Anderson reported on July 15. “The two sides are currently unable to come to terms on an extension on today’s deadline for long-term deals for players designated with the tag.”

As Spotrac notes, Bates’ market value is $16 million per season across five years at a shade of just over $80 million.

Bates Would Be Major Upgrade Over Cowboys’ Current Safeties

Although the Cowboys have their two projected starters at safety in Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker, neither player will ever be considered a star. Meanwhile, Bates has yet to hit his peak and was one of the most dominant defensive players during last year’s postseason.

While helping lead the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI, Bates posted a 90.0 defensive grade, the third-highest of any defensive player in the postseason, according to Pro Football Focus. While Bates regressed during the 2021 regular season in comparison to the previous one, his 2020 campaign illustrates how high his ceiling is. During the 2020 season, Bates posted a 90.1 defensive grade, the highest mark of any safety and the seventh-highest among starting defensive players in the NFL.

By comparison, Hooker posted a 70.4 defensive grade and Kearse posted a 75.9 defensive grade last season.

Adding Bates into the mix not only gives the Cowboys the opportunity to improve upon their 20th in pass defense ranking from last season, it gives them arguably the top playmaking defensive backfield in the league. Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs led the league in interceptions (11) on his way to a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection last season.

With the Cowboys seeking to win a Super Bowl this season, they should pull out all the stops in order to accomplish that objective. Considering Bates has yet to hit his peak and is seeking a long-term deal, the Cowboys should pounce on the opportunity and surrender a high draft pick for a playmaker at safety.


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