Falcons Dec 18, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; General view of a Atlanta Falcons helmet during warm ups against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons made a huge splash in free agency on Monday.

Atlanta signed former All-Pro defensive back Jessie Bates. Bates, who previously spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals, will switch conferences and cities as he flies south to join the Dirty Birds.

NFL insider Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported the news of Bates’ signing. “Safety Jessie Bates and the Falcons have agreed to a four-year, $64M contract, including $23M in the first year, per source,” Howe tweeted.

In 79 career games, Bates has recorded 14 interceptions, 43 passes defended, three forced fumbles, and 479 tackles. He has been regarded as one of the best free safeties in the league over the past few years.

Cincinnati opted to franchise tag Bates last season. But now that one year elapsed, Bates is no longer a Bengal. He was a key contributor on a team that made back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game. And, of course, Super Bowl LVI.

According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, Bates will become the fourth-highest-paid safety in NFL history when he signs the deal.

The NFL world reacted to the major signing.

ESPN Stats & Info delivered a key statistic about the Bengals, who lost both Bates and Vonn Bell to free agency.

Drew Bogs praised the Fort Wayne native who made “BANK!”

Ben Baby claimed this was the “kind of deal that Bates has been look for since the start of 2021.” Now, he’s got it.

Leger Douzabe called Bates “a huge get” for the Falcons.

[Jeff Howe]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022