AFC North: Bengals low ball franchised safety Jessie Bates

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When the Cleveland Browns placed the franchise tag on TE David Njoku, it set up the possibility of a difficult negotiation between the two sides. Instead, the Browns and Njoku came to terms on a long-term deal and avoided any uncertainty of getting him locked up.

Some questioned the contract size, but getting a deal done was far more beneficial than not.

Friday was the deadline for teams who used the franchise tag to get a deal done with their franchise player. Four players, TEs Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki, OL Orlando Brown and safety Jessie Bates III did not get deals done before the deadline.

All four will only have the option of playing on the franchise tag this season.

Bates, the Cincinnati Bengals star safety, may have had the most difficult negotiations of the four. According to Ian Rapoport, the Bengals only offered Bates around $17 million guaranteed on a five-year contract:

Bates will get around $13 million guaranteed whenever he signs his franchise tender with the team but, again according to Rapoport, that is not likely to happen anytime soon:

Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, Cincinnati has some quality players nearing the end of their contracts that they may value more than Bates. On the other hand, Bates is a top-level safety in the NFL and is a homegrown talent who now seems likely to wait until late into training camp before signing his tender and showing up.