Falcons to add Jessie Bates on $64m deal

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The Atlanta Falcons made a splash by bolstering their defensive secondary on the first day of NFL free agency.

After spending his first five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, safety Jessie Bates III is signing with the Falcons for four years and $64million, according to multiple reports.

According to NFL Network, the contract will pay Bates $23m in its first year. With an average annual salary of $16m, Bates becomes among the top five highest-paid safeties in the league.

Bates, who was a second-round draft pick in 2018, was expected to leave Cincinnati after playing under the franchise tag last season.

The Falcons' defense allowed 3,942 passing yards last season, 25th in the NFL.

While Bates will immediately be expected to make an impact and provide veteran leadership with the Falcons, the void he leaves in the Bengals' secondary is likely to be filled by 2022 first-round draft pick Daxton Hill.

Earlier on Monday, the Falcons announced a five-year, $105m contract extension for guard Chris Lindstrom.

After a 7-10 campaign last year, Atlanta are likely to continue spending in free agency. The Falcons also have the number eight pick in April's draft.