The Dallas Cowboys could be an ideal candidate for one of the best young safeties in the NFL.
Bleacher Report states that Cincinnati Bengals safety, is an NFL veteran and should be traded before the start of the 2022 season. Bates is currently on the team franchise tag. Tyler Dragon from USA Today reported that Bates wasn’t interested playing in such circumstances back in February.
Davenport suggests that Bates is a no-show at offseason activities and the Cowboys could benefit from a boost on the backend from Bates.
“If Bates really is set against playing under the tag, then this is the kind of distraction the Bengals don’t need,” says Davenport. “With the Philadelphia Eagles already being mentioned as a potential suitor and other contenders like the Dallas Cowboys in need of a boost on the back end, the best bet for all parties could be a clean break.”
In an interview with NFL Now, Bates stated that top players have been injured while playing under the franchise tag. This can impact their chances of getting a lucrative contract.
“That’s something that needs to be discussed at NFLPA a little bit. Some of the top guys got hurt under a franchise tag,” Bates told NFL NOW on Feb. 23. “It’s tough. You only get one shot at this. You just got to play your cards right, I guess you could say.”
Malik Hooker will likely be the Cowboys’ starting safety for the 2022 season. Hooker was not a full-time starter in the last season. However, he saw 44% of defensive snaps. He also posted a 70.4 defensive rating according to Pro Football Focus. Hooker was actually the 28th-best safety in the league.
Hooker hasn’t started a full safety season since the 2019 campaign when he was with the Indianapolis Colts. The Cowboys are immediately elevated by the acquisition of a player with Bates’ caliber.
Bates’ 2021 season play was not as good, but his postseason performance proved why he was selected for the Second-Team All Pro in 2020. Bates, 25, posted a shocking 90.0 defensive grade in the postseason. To put it in perspective, Antoine Winfield Jr was the next-best safety with an 81.9 defensive rating.
Bates was able to catch two passes and only four receptions for 33 yards in the postseason. Bates was the Bengals’ most-rated player in defense during their Super Bowl run. This four-year veteran was actually the third-highest-rated defensive player during the postseason, behind Willie Gay and Von Miller.
Although Bates showed his ceiling when it mattered most, one must also acknowledge the underwhelming season. Bates only posted a 56.1 defensive score in the 2021 season.
If Bates is really serious about not being under the tag, and the Cowboys have an opportunity to add another ball-hawking defensive player to their backfield, Dallas may want to make a move if presented with the chance.
The Cowboys are in win-now mode, desperate for a deep playoff run and haven’t reached the conference championship since 1995. Buying one of the best defensive players in the game could make all the difference in Dallas’ playoff hopes.