The Atlanta Falcons have already made a significant splash on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering window, first inking offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom to a record extension and following through with the announcement of signing elite safety Jessie Bates III.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Falcons and Bates have agreed on a four-year, $64.02 million deal that will pay the former Cincinnati Bengals safety a whopping $59 million in the first two years of the contract.
Bates is now the fourth highest-paid safety in NFL history.
At just 26 years old, Bates — who was on the free-agent radar of several teams — has been an impressive model of consistency and health, missing only three starts in his first five seasons.
He’ll also be bringing a nice boost of youth to the position along with some serious playoff experience after reaching the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship with the Bengals over the last two seasons.
One would venture to guess that Bates is just getting warmed up and likely hasn’t come close to reaching his full potential yet, which is a pretty scary thought considering Bates has already produced at a high level, hauling in a career-high four interceptions for the Bengals in 2022.
In general, this is a great sign for Falcons fans. Seeing their team so active and clearly willing to spend the very moment they could be active has to be a nice breath of fresh air, as it’s not exactly something we witness every year.
Related: NFL free agent tracker 2023: Latest signings, contract info, news for all 32 teams in NFL free agency