Bengals News: Carlos Dunlap speculates on the future of Atkins, Green

Geno Atkins
Geno Atkins /

Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have already had to say goodbye to two franchise cornerstones in the past year. Quarterback Andy Dalton found a new home with the Dallas Cowboys and defensive end Carlos Dunlap got to play meaningful postseason football for the first time since 2015. Unfortunately, the future of another pair of organizational pillars is also up in the air this offseason.

A.J. Green is set to hit the open market after a remarkably disappointing 2020 season. In what was supposed to amount to a comeback player of the year campaign, Green was unable to return to pre-injury form, netting only 523 receiving yards and two touchdowns, despite playing on a franchise tag that came with a steep price.

At this point, a change of scenery for Green appears to be the best outcome for both parties. The Bengals will get to utilize the vacated cap space on protection for Joe Burrow and the stellar wideout will get a chance to chase a championship ring in the more immediate future.

Geno Atkins, on the other hand, still has two years remaining on his deal with Cincinnati. However, an extremely disappointing season that was reportedly plagued by a shoulder injury has some questioning if the front office will gamble on a successful return to form from the star defensive tackle.

After all, Atkins is slated to have a cap hit just south of $15M in 2021. The Bengals simply can’t afford to dole out that kind of money if they aren’t sure they’re going to get an elite level of production.

Carlos Dunlap gives his take on the Bengals’ situation

If you ask Dunlap, he isn’t so sure Green and Atkins haven’t played their last snap in stripes either. In an appearance on CBS Sports Radio, he had this to say,

"“I just know that they’re [HC Zac Taylor and DC Lou Anarumo] committed to whatever their vision is, and it’s clear that I was not one of those pieces. And it seems like A.J. [Green] and Geno’s [Atkins] time is coming, too. I guess it’s a changing of the guard. They want new faces.” (via The Athletic’s Jay Morrison)"

If it’s change that the top coaches in the Queen City want, it’s change they’ll get. Bengals decision-makers threw their support behind Taylor, who decided to retain Anarumo, despite some historically bad statistics working against both of them. There’s no going back now.

Armed with a sizable amount of money to spend in free agency and draft capital that features a top-five overall selection, the changing of the guard, as Dunlap puts it, could be completed this offseason.

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