There’s not much debate when discussing how good of a football player, Minkah Fitzpatrick is. A ball-hawking free safety, the Pittsburgh Steeler great has 11 interceptions in three seasons, and is a 2x first team All-Pro. He’s also now the highest-paid safety in NFL history.
Four years, $18.5 million per year with just $36 million guaranteed. An absolute steal for Pittsburgh. Still, Fitzpatrick is well-deserving of a deal of this magnitude. It also affects many other teams outside of just the Steelers as well.
Top safeties on teams with cap issues are looking for the highest, per year, dollar amount possible. Most teams just do not want to spend that much money on a safety which leads to a lot of good players being shopped around as trade bait.
The exact scenario could be happening for Bengals safety, Jessie Bates.
The Jessie Bates conundrum
Bates is in the final year of his deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. While Bates had an excellent postseason, his Pro Football Focus grade was just a mediocre 56. While his 47.7% completion percentage as the nearest defender ranked third among safeties, he was an inconsistent player during the regular season last year.
With Bates wanting a new contract, and the Bengals having a lot of home-grown talent they will need to take care of in the near future, it might be in their best interest to find a trade partner for Bates. The Eagles could be the perfect one.
The Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are an obvious choice for the services of Bates. While Marcus Epps and Anthony Harris are serviceable starters, the team has very little proven depth behind them if the injury bug were to rear its ugly head.
Bates to Philadelphia would be a slam-dunk decision for the Eagles that may not even cost as much as people think. Bates wants a new deal, is set to have a massive payday after the season, and the Eagles have enough flexibility in the draft and cap to make it happen.
The Eagles’ offseason could go from great to outstanding if they were able to add in Jessie Bates to this already loaded defense.
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