Realistically? Probably not. But that hasn't stopped some from suggesting the Jets as a feasible landing spot in a hypothetical trade.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently listed the Jets as one of a few teams that could trade for Bates this summer. The idea behind the suggestion is twofold.
Bates seemingly has no intention of playing on the franchise tag in 2022 which could result in the Bengals trading him before the start of the season, and the Jets do have a hole that Bates could fill in their secondary.
On paper, it at least makes a little sense. Benjamin explained his reasoning by stating the following.
"They're clearly invested in upgrading Robert Saleh's lineup, specifically on defense. And pairing Bates with new starter Jordan Whitehead would give them a dynamic duo on the back end. Lamarcus Joyner, now 31 and coming off a serious injury, is better served coming off the bench. But is general manager Joe Douglas really going to break the bank for Bates when he wouldn't do it for Jamal Adams or Marcus Maye, and after already giving Whitehead decent money (up to $14.5 million)?"- Cody Benjamin
Don't expect the NY Jets to trade for Jessie Bates
It's easy to see why some would suggest the Jets as a landing spot. New York has the financial flexibility to provide Bates with the long-term deal that he's looking for and they could use another standout safety opposite Jordan Whitehead to truly solidify their secondary.
But there are some obstacles as well.
As Benjamin notes, it's hard to imagine general manager Joe Douglas paying top dollar to a safety given the precedent he's set in the past, especially one he has to trade assets for.
Bates is a very good player, but it should be noted that his play has been rather volatile over his four years in the NFL. He was very good as a rookie, took a step in his second season, was arguably the best safety in football in 2020, and then regressed significantly again last year.
This isn't to say that he's not a top-10 safety in the NFL because he likely still is, but his inconsistencies are probably part of the reason why the Bengals have been hesitant to pay him.
While it's fun to imagine a scenario where Bates is lining up alongside Whitehead in the Jets' defense, it just isn't realistic to expect Douglas to give up assets and pay him what he's looking for.
File this under the "fun but unrealistic" category of offseason chatter.