Jessie Bates III was one of the league's biggest free agents before the Atlanta Falcons signed him off the market. What's his role expected to be for the Falcons?
The Atlanta Falcons are making Jessie Bates III one of the league's richest safeties after signing him to a four-year, $64 million deal earlier this week.
The price was steep, but the Falcons believe the investment is worth it because of who Bates is on and off the field.
After five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and reaching the Super Bowl and AFC Championship for the past two years, Bates has a ton of experience in the biggest games in the world, something he hopes will establish him as a leader.
"I think that my role is going to be a leader," Bates said. "Someone that has experience, postseason, has experienced the bad, the good - I've had a little bit of at all. Just five years into it at 26 years old, I have a lot of wisdom and stuff to talk about to the guys in the locker room."
Bates is still young, and some may say hasn't even entered the prime of his career. But part of what makes Bates special is his ability to play multiple positions, something that may come up this season and beyond for the Falcons.
"I think that I'm very versatile," Bates said. "I've been in different situations - I haven't just played post safety my whole life; I've been in those different situations. So, being able to talk about my experiences, talk about what I've seen, so once you're able to mark down what you've seen, it's just the player I am. Being able to gain the trust of the players and the coaches every single day I step foot in the locker room, so very excited."
It's a new opportunity for Bates in Atlanta. In Cincinnati, he came in as a second-round pick looking to be part of the team. Now, he's being asked to lead the Falcons.
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