AFC Notes: Jessie Bates, Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Kenny Pickett


  • The Bengals were willing to go as high as $14 million a year in a new deal for S Jessie Bates, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. That would have slotted Bates around eighth in the NFL in pay among safeties. 
  • Guaranteed money was part of the hangup as well. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Cincinnati’s offer would have guaranteed Bates only $4 million more than the $12.9 million he’s scheduled to get on the tag in 2022. The Bengals front office has a precedent of not guaranteeing money past the first year of the deal. 
  • Cincinnati has been conscientious of the fact that WR Tee Higgins, QB Joe Burrow, OT Jonah Williams and eventually WR Ja’Marr Chase will all be eligible for deals within the coming years, per Breer. It’s worth noting that the team can sign Burrow to a new extension following the 2022 season. 



Steelers DT Cameron Heyward feels that skepticism over first-round QB Kenny Pickett‘s hand size was overblown. 

“I think it got blown out of proportion and then I just kind of ran with it,” Heyward said, via SteelersDepot. “You know, why can’t I call my rookie quarterback ‘Burger King Hands’? He will be on the show later on and I will be giving him a hard time then, but, man, the dude can still play.”

Heyward reiterated that he’s confident Pickett won’t have any issues with the size of his hands. 

“I talk a good game and I like to give people a hard time, but I won’t say his hands were really small or anything,” Heyward said. “Like he’s got average-size hands and I didn’t think anything of it. He was able to throw the ball, still able to whip it around, and he’s got the ball in his hands for a reason. He was able to do it in college.”

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