The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off of back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in three decades, and much of their recent success be attributed to defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The former fourth-round pick out of Georgia has taken the NFL by storm, and is now regarded as not only the leagues best interior lineman but some would argue he’s the best lineman on either side of the ball.
What’s even more amazing is he’s risen to this level, and is still on his rookie deal, which expires after the coming season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday on Monday Night Countdown that the Bengals and Atkins have been talking about a long-term extension, and the team was making a push to make it happen soon.
Not long after that report came out, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk quickly disputed it:
No, a deal isn’t on the brink of happening.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, nothing is imminent between the Bengals and Atkins. The talks, which we’re told have been occurring for months, have no clear timeline.
Given the way the Bengals like to handle contract negotiations, there’s a good chance Bengals will let the season play out, try to negotiate a deal during the offseason, and place the franchise tag on him next offseason if no deal is reached. The though of being hit with the tag could cause Atkins to sign a deal that favors the Bengals more. There’s no doubt he wants to get paid while getting some long-term security, and as a former fourth-round draft pick, he’s been averaging around $1 million in his first four NFL seasons.
As of now, Atkins has one year and $1.42 million remaining on the rookie contract he signed with the Bengals in 2010.