There is still guarded optimism that the Philadelphia Eagles might swing for the fences on a trade for Jessie Bates. The All-Pro safety is unhappy with his contract and could push for a one-way ticket out.
Bates hasn’t requested a trade at this point, but he has been skipping voluntary workouts with the Cincinnati Bengals. Some feel the Eagles should be blowing up the phone lines in southern Ohio to get a deal done. But don’t expect that to happen.
Inside the Birds’ Adam Caplan recently explained that the Bengals don’t operate that way. They are probably going to franchise Bates and keep him in Cincinnati as they continue to negotiate a contract extension. Why? They rarely trade players. Period.
“Them walking away with Jessie Bates would not make a lot of sense,” Caplan said. “The Bengals, the way it’s explained to me, by a lot of teams who have dealt with the Bengals over the years, they simply do not trade players. They don’t do it unless they absolutely have to.”
Caplan was quick to provide an example of the Bengals’ stubbornness. Teams kept calling them about former first-round pick John Ross — the fastest man to ever run the 40 — and they refused to trade him.
“They would not trade him,” Caplan said. “They decided to let his contract run out. How ridiculous is that?”
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Bates Doesn’t Want to Play Under Franchise Tag
The Bengals may want to franchise Bates, but he doesn’t have to sign the tender. He could decide to sit out the year. Or he could have his agent demand a trade out of Cincinnati.
Either way, Bates appears to be ready to dig his feet in the sand. He told Tyler Dragon of USA Today that he has “no intentions” of playing on a franchise tag.
Meanwhile, NFL teams are deep into the process of tagging franchise players. The Cleveland Browns did it to David Njoku, then inked him to a four-year $56.75 million extension. The deadline to complete an extension or ink a franchise tender is July 15.
Eagles Keep Hyping Up Veteran Safety Marcus Epps
What the fans want and what the Eagles do are usually on opposite sides of the spectrum. The organization has been calculated and savvy this offseason. They have plugged major holes via smart trades, creative contract restructures, and free agent signings with high upside.
One thing they keep saying publicly is how much they like Marcus Epps. He’s the leader in the clubhouse to replace Rodney McLeod alongside Anthony Harris at safety. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon sees a hungry young player ready to fill a void.
“Just like any young player, a guy that hasn’t been a full-time starter, is just consistency,” Gannon said of Epps. “He’s played at a high level the times that he’s played for us, and you have to be able to do that over the long-haul snap after snap. Really excited to see him play this year.”