Overpaid Free Agent No. 1 – Jessie Bates, S
In the past two weeks, the Jessie Bates hype train has hit all-time highs for Cleveland fans. He’s been on everyone’s radar for a while knowing that the Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of players to take care of in the next two seasons so Bates is likely expendable, but I’m still not sold Berry can get it done.
I don’t see many red flags for Bates and he's truly a fantastic fit for the team. Grant Delpit will be the other starting safety and excels in the box, and Bates is fantastic in the deep half not letting guys get behind him.
We haven’t forgotten how bad this secondary was to start the season. Remember, in the first five games of the season there was a 60-plus yard busted coverage play it seemed like. Bringing in a guy like Bates takes that away almost instantly.
Historically, safeties haven’t gotten money quite like elite cornerbacks, but you’re starting to see that gap narrow more and more. I don’t think Bates is going to get $20 million per year which Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick are flirting with, but he’s going to get well north of $15 million if he so desires.
Safety is a huge hole on this roster and the Browns need to address it, but Bates is going to be too expensive. Look for Berry to bring in a capable veteran who can mentor a young player to eventually transition as a starter.