Starting the Bengals’ top five highest paid players is Geno Atkins, the most important 2019 to the team. Atkins has one year remaining on his original extension, which will play $9.5 million this season. $9.5 million for Atkins, one of the most destructive linemen in the NFL, is an absolute steal. The question for Atkins, though, is the same as the one for Dunlap: will they get an extension before the season starts?
For Atkins, it may be smart. Risking his free agency would be extremely dangerous with the value he brings to the Bengals’ defense. In his career with the Bengals, Atkins has been a model of consistency. Not only has he put up amazing stats and sack numbers, but he has been among PFF’s top linemen every year. Although losing Atkins’ $9.5 million salary for this year would stink, locking him up long term is so important. He will command upward of $16 million a year.