The Cincinnati Bengals are becoming one of the best franchises in the NFL in terms of drafting and developing their own talent, and subsequently signing those players to long-term extensions to ensure continuity and team chemistry.
The Bengals signed defensive Carlos Dunlap to a six-year, $40 million contract. He is set to earn $20 million over the next two seasons, with another $4.5 million available in incentives.
That came just months after the team placed the franchise tag on free agent DE Michael Johnson, who finished second on the team last year with 11.5 sacks. While it’s not a long-term deal, the tag will pay Johnson $11.175 million and was ranked No. 1 on NFL.com’s list of this year’s top free-agent pass rushers.
Today, All-Pro Geno Atkins was inked to a five-year, $55 million extension. He was scheduled to earn just $1.4 million in what was the last year of his rookie contract. Instead, he’ll now earn $22 million in the next six months. That means the Bengals will pay over $50 million to their defensive line, the heart of their elite defense, over the next year.