Geno Atkins

GMs Expecting Active Trade Deadline

The NFL has experienced a dramatic rise in significant trades over the past several years, and there may be a few noteworthy swaps going down this month as we get closer to the October 29 trade deadline. Indeed, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says there is a sense among general managers that we may see more trades in advance of this year’s deadline than ever before, largely because there is a larger gulf between pretenders and contenders than in seasons past (indeed, there are still six winless teams, which is the highest number at this point in the season since the 1970 merger).

La Canfora says the teams most actively laying groundwork for potential deals are the Saints, Eagles, Ravens, Chiefs, Patriots, and Seahawks. Of course, a number of those clubs have already been pursuing Jacksonville CB Jalen Ramsey, and the Saints, Eagles, Ravens, and Chiefs are casting a wide net for cornerback upgrades.

One of this year’s still-winless clubs, the Broncos, are reportedly more open to moving veteran pieces than they were last year, as La Canfora writes in a separate piece, with Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris, and Emmanuel Sanders all generating interest. Wolfe could make sense for Baltimore, and the Saints are expected to renew their pursuit of Sanders. Even Von Miller could be on the block, per La Canfora, especially since all of his major bonuses and guarantees have already been paid. Miller, 30, is reportedly open to a change of scenery at this point, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the Broncos will not trade him (video link). However, the other players mentioned above could be available if Denver continues to scuffle.

But while Denver may be willing to talk shop, rival GMs are skeptical that the 0-4 Bengals, led by old-school owner Mike Brown, will be amenable to moving big-name vets despite their fading fortunes. La Canfora’s sources say Cincinnati could net a first-round pick for WR A.J. Green if the acquiring club is able to work out a new contract with him as a condition of the trade (and if Green recovers from his foot injury soon). The Patriots and Saints could make a push for Green or Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, and Cincy could also swing deals for players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap if the club is willing to listen to offers.

Like fellow winless outfits Denver and Cincinnati, the Jets could be active in shopping veteran players in advance of the deadline. La Canfora specifically names Kelechi Osemele and Leonard Williams as players who could be on the move, though he says there has been no trade chatter surrounding Le’Veon Bell at this point.

Finally, though the 0-4 Redskins have been steadfastly refusing to trade Trent Williams, some believe that the team will relent at some point and will ship Williams to a contender in need of O-line help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: OBJ, Mason, Bengals

We have already learned a fair amount about the details of Odell Beckham Jr.‘s new mega-deal with the Giants, but Ralph Vacchiano of passes along some important information about OBJ’s cap hits. While his contract will provide New York with $3MM of cap relief in 2018, Beckham’s cap number balloons to $21MM in 2019 and will be between $15MM and $19.75MM from 2020 to 2023.

In 2019, then, the Giants could be devoting half of their cap space to just five players, and they are projected to have just $12MM in cap room in 2019 at the moment. That number will increase with several easy cuts and restructures, but Beckham’s contract will force the club to make a few difficult decisions, which Vacchiano explores in greater detail.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes on recently-signed contracts:

  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports that Shaq Mason‘s extension with the Patriots includes $45MM in new money, a $12MM signing bonus, and $5MM in incentives. He also provides a breakdown of Mason’s guarantees, base salaries, and cap numbers (Twitter links).
  • Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Geno Atkinsextension with the Bengals includes a $13MM signing bonus, which is part of $17MM in guaranteed money. Atkins is also eligible for up to $500K per year in per game active bonuses and workout bonuses. Carlos Dunlap‘s new deal with Cincinnati, meanwhile, features $18MM in guarantees and several sacks escalators. Owczarski also provides the base salaries for both players.
  • Greg Mancz‘s two-year extension with the Texans, which kicks in after the 2018 season, is worth $6MM in total, per NFL insider Adam Caplan (via Twitter).

Bengals Sign DT Geno Atkins To Extension

The Bengals have signed defensive tackle Geno Atkins to a four-year extension, according to his agency. The new pact is worth $65.3M, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter).

The 30-year-old is among the best players on the Bengals’ defense, so the deal was a high priority for the front office. The club’s recent release of safety George Iloka likely freed up the room necessary to make the deal happen.

Atkins will receive $25.5MM in the first year of the new deal and more than half of the contract ($37.5MM) will be paid in the first two years. His $16.3MM yearly average is highest yearly average ever obtained by a 30+ year old non-quarterback in NFL history.

The defensive tackle inked a five-year, $53.3MM extension with the Bengals back in 2013, which meant that his deal was set to expire after the 2018 season. That contract proved to be a winner for both sides. For the Bengals, the deal allowed them to keep a top performer under contract at roughly $10.6MM per year while the market advanced at a sharp rate. Atkins, meanwhile, made more cash than he could ever hope to spend. And, since he’s still in the prime of his career, he was able to do it all again.

Atkins finished out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked interior defender last year, putting him behind only Aaron Donald of the Rams. Like Donald, Atkins is a stout run defender with the ability to also disrupt opposing quarterbacks from the interior. Atkins has notched at least nine sacks in each of the last three seasons, and, save for the 2013 season cut short by an ACL tear, he has never missed a game. Donald is still three years younger and in a class of his own, but Atkins has been far more dominant than many outside of Cincinnati realize.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extension Candidate: Geno Atkins

This offseason, we have (rightfully) heard a great deal about potential extensions for star defenders Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, and Jadeveon Clowney. That discussion has overshadowed Geno Atkins, to some extent, as he pushes for a new deal.

The defensive tackle inked a five-year, $53.3MM extension with the Bengals back in 2013, which has him in place through the 2018 season. The deal has proved to be a winner for both sides. For the Bengals, the deal allowed them to keep a top performer under contract at roughly $10.6MM per year while the market advanced at a sharp rate. Atkins, meanwhile, made more cash than he could ever hope to spend and is now primed to do it all over again at the age of 30.

When Atkins’ deal began in 2014, he was the NFL’s third-highest paid 4-3 defensive tackle with a $9MM cap number. Today, his $9.5MM cap figure for 2018 places him seventh in the same category. After finishing the year as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked interior defender – behind only Donald – something has to change.

Like Donald, Atkins is a stout run defender with the ability to also disrupt opposing quarterbacks from the interior. Atkins has notched at least nine sacks in each of the last three seasons, and, save for the 2013 season cut short by an ACL tear, he has never missed a game. Donald is still three years younger and in a class of his own, but Atkins has been far more dominant than many outside of Cincinnati realize.

If Donald signs first, Atkins’ camp will have a favorable comp to work off of, even though his deal will be worth less. The Bengals aren’t technically on the clock here, but they may want to get a deal done sooner rather than later.

A new deal for Atkins will definitely cost eight figures per year, but it remains to be seen how far the Bengals will go. With a fluid cap situation both this year and next, you can expect the Bengals to lock up Atkins on a multi-year deal worth around $12MM per season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Notes: Atkins, Flowers, Worley, Supplemental Draft

Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of several stars around the league waiting to get paid. Entering the last year of his contract, he’s also one of several Bengals waiting to get paid. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap has made waves this offseason by staying away from OTAs and making it clear that he wants a new contract, but Atkins is the better player and likely the player the team wants to lock up first. The Bengals view Atkins as a priority according to Geoff Hobson of, who writes an extension is “an absolute must. Like sunrise or high tide. They know they need him.”

Hobson thinks the Bengals will do everything they can to ensure the three-time All-Pro doesn’t become a free agent at the end of this season. He thinks the wait for a new deal may have something to do with Aaron Donald and the Rams. As Donald awaits his new deal that may make him the highest paid defensive player in the league, Hobson thinks if “Donald signs before him it will make it easier” for Atkins to sign since it will “set the parameters” by resetting the market for defensive tackles.

One way or another, it looks like something will get done and that Atkins will be a Bengal for years to come.

Here’s more from Cincinnati:

  • The Bengals could be active in this year’s Supplemental NFL Draft, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although the Bengals haven’t taken anyone in the Supplemental Draft since 2006, Owczarski thinks this years crop of eligible players are the type of players the Bengals like, writing “this year’s supplemental draft group might pique the Bengals interest.” He thinks the players who have announced “fit positions and physical traits that suit the Bengals” and that since the Bengals have a bunch of late-round picks for the 2019 draft, they might be willing to use one or more of them in the Supplemental Draft.
  • Hobson thinks undrafted linebacker Chris Worley will have “every chance to make” the Bengals’ roster. A rookie from Ohio State, Worley has reportedly impressed during OTAs and Hobson gives him a good shot at making the team due to linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s four-game suspension to start the season.
  • Quinton Flowers is a “long shot” to make the team, according to Hobson. Flowers was a quarterback at South Florida, but switched positions to running back after signing with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent. If he does manage to make the team, Hobson thinks he’ll play a hybrid role as “the third QB, fourth running back, seventh wide receiver and second or third returner.”

AFC Notes: Broncos, Brady, Jets, Dunlap

Bill Musgrave, who was elevated to Broncos‘ offensive coordinator once Mike McCoy was dismissed after Week 10 of the 2017 campaign, could not effectuate many wholesale changes to the offense midseason. But as Mike Klis of writes, Musgrave is installing an almost completely different offense this year. “Yeah, it’s pretty much all different,” Musgrave said.

Denver ranked 27th in the league in scoring last season, and everyone from the front office down believed that McCoy’s complex system was a big reason for that, although the team’s offense has been in a funk since the second half of the 2014 season. However, the Broncos hope that Case Keenum will bring much-needed stability to the quarterback position, and that Musgrave’s more streamlined offense — which was developed along with GM John Elway, head coach Vance Joseph, and personnel advisor Gary Kubiak — will lead to improved results in 2018.

Now let’s take look at a few other AFC notes and rumors:

  • Although Tom Brady has not announced when he will return to the Patriots, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, just like owner Robert Kraft, expects him to be present for the team’s mandatory minicamp this week. Brady’s backups, Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling, have gotten increased work in Brady’s absence, and it remains unclear as to how Brady will be received by head coach Bill Belichick when he returns. While Brady will likely not have much trouble making up for lost time, his absence has created plenty of buzz in the NFL world, and it is not helping the already palpable tension between him and his coach.
  • Mike Reiss of says Patriots second-year TE Jacob Hollister, who made the team as a UDFA last year, has added some noticeable weight and strength and has looked good in OTAs. Hollister will compete for No. 3 TE reps with free agent signee Troy Niklas, who comes with a better draft pedigree but who has not done much in his first few professional seasons.
  • Jets CEO Christopher Johnson‘s pro-player stance on the national anthem issue will likely not be a major factor when it comes to luring free agents, but Rich Cimini of says it is suggestive of a player-friendly environment, which could be a selling point if a player has narrowed his choice to a couple of teams. In the same piece, Cimini notes that the team is rededicating itself to a physical and prominent running game, which free agent signee Isaiah Crowell will lead, and that Quincy Enunwa still expects to be ready for the start of training camp.
  • Steelers‘ 2018 second-round choice James Washington is the presumptive favorite to assume the team’s No. 3 WR job following the draft-day trade of Martavis Bryant. But as Jeremy Fowler of writes, Justin Hunter — a former second-round pick of the Titans whose star never rose like some expected — has been getting a few first-team reps during this year’s OTAs, and he is making the most of them. Hunter, like Bryant, is a lanky deep threat capable of making plays downfield, and he hopes to become a consistent target for Ben Roethlisberger.
  • Both Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are entering the final year of their respective contracts, and as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, the Bengals clearly want to keep Atkins around long-term. Whether or not they want to keep Dunlap could hinge not only on the performance of the young defensive lineman already on the roster, but on next year’s crop of rookies. 2019 is already being labeled “the year of the defensive lineman,” and if the 2019 crop of collegiate prospects lives up to its billing, Cincinnati could be perfectly content to let Dunlap walk. We learned yesterday that Dunlap would end his short-lived holdout and report to the team.
  • In the same piece linked above, Dehner names Bengals‘ 2018 fifth-round choice Darius Phillips as the late-round pick who has stood out the most thus far. Phillips has been deployed as a slot corner in spring practices and has looked sharp and instinctive. He also has been getting a shot at punt returner, as he is reportedly electric with the ball in his hands.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Brockers, Lions, Dunlap

After much speculation, Cowboys defender Byron Jones confirmed on Monday that he will be switching from safety to cornerback in 2018, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota writes.

Viewed as a versatile defender coming out of college, Jones played cornerback as a rookie in 2015 and a safety the past two seasons. New defensive backs coach Kris Richard preferred him at the former.

“I think it will be a good move for me and the team. I’m always open to making position changes, as long as I’m in the best position to succeed. If [Richard] believes my best position is corner, then I’m down.”

Richard knows a thing or two about getting the best from bigger cornerbacks. With the Seahawks, Richard oversaw Richard Sherman’s ascent to one of the premier corners in the league. What remains to be seen is if the team prefers him on the boundary or in the slot. In 2017, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis showed plenty of promise on the outside.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.
  • If any Lions players are moved in draft-day deals, some of the names that make sense include Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Jake Rudock, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. Those names all come to mind after the team added veterans in LeGarrette Blount and Matt Cassel in the offseason.
  • The goal is for the Bengals to sign both Carlos Dunlap and get a new deal with Geno writer Geoff Hobson notes in a mailbag. Both Dunlap’s and Atkins’ deals run through the 2018 campaign.
  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be deposed in the next two weeks in Colin Kaeperncik‘s collusion case against the league, USA Today’s A.J. Perez writes. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are also on the docket to be deposed.

Bengals Notes: Atkins, Dunlap, Ross

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is near the top of the Bengals’ wishlist of players to extend. The six-time Pro Bowler is entering the final year of a five-year $55MM extension and though he turned 30 earlier this week, he’s not showing signs of slowing down.

Atkins has tallied nine sacks in each of the last two seasons without missing a game. In fact, he hasn’t missed a game since 2013.

The Bengals have indicated his extension will certainly be a priority.

“In our football business, you pay for high-end talent and Geno has been at the top of our industry for a long time and we think he can continue to do that and that’s why we’re trying to see what the opportunities are going forward,” said Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer

Atkins set the market for defensive tackles back in 2013 but has since been upstaged by the likes of Gerald McCoy (seven years, $98MM) and Ndamukong Suh (six years, $114MM — with the Dolphins). Suh most-recently signed a one-year, $14MM deal with the Rams.

Here’s more from the Bengals:

  • The Bengals have another defensive lineman nearing free agency in Carlos Dunlap. He’s also entering the final year of his deal — a six-year, $40MM extension signed in July 2013. The 29-year-old two-time Pro Bowler hasn’t logged less than 7 1/2 sacks in a season since 2013 while not missing a game since 2012. Blackburn said “That’s right” to Dehner Jr. when asked if Dunlap was viewed in the same scope as Atkins. But excess talent at defensive end in Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis could complicate matters. “At the same time, we’re going to be looking at the young guys we have coming up,” Blackburn said
  • John Ross had an abysmal rookie season with the Bengals, fumbling on his only touch of the year. But his lack of production didn’t have to do with a fractured relationship with coach Marvin Lewis. “He wasn’t in my doghouse. I don’t have a doghouse,” Lewis said to Geoff Hobson of “I think he’s all the ability we wanted. That’s why we drafted him. He had to get fixed. We knew he was injured going in and he got nicked up a couple of times in his lower legs and the other shoulder was bothering him. He’s all fixed now.” The Bengals took the speedster out of Washington with the No. 9 overall pick of the 2017 draft.
  • Earlier this week, Bengals president of player personnel Duke Tobin acknowledged that building around a player like Vontaze Burfict hasn’t been “ideal” but the team plans to stick by him and his recently-signed three-year extension for the time being. Burfict is suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

AFC Links: Keisel, Dolphins, Ravens, Atkins

Brett Keisel is excited to return to the Steelers, and the defensive end isn’t concerned about his role for this upcoming season. Instead, he’s focused on helping the team, particularly the rookies.

To be back and to be able to hope to help lead some of these guys and help these guys turn into pros and accountable pros, I’m excited about it,” Keisel told Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“I’ve felt since about March, when I decided I still wanted to play football, that something would happen. I hoped it would be here, and for a long time … nothing happened, nothing happened. It was kind of weird like, ‘What am I going to do now?'”

So, after having started in each of his 110 games since 2006, will the veteran welcome a reduced role?

We really didn’t get into that too much. They just said, ‘We want you back.'”

Let’s check out some more notes from the AFC…

  • As Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno continues to get healthy, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald believes the player will climb up the depth chart. That could leave some of his teammates, including Daniel Thomas, on the outside looking in. However, the prospect of being cut is far from the 26-year-old’s mind. I don’t really worry about it,” Thomas said. “I’ll just let whatever happens, happens and just go with it. It’s all I can do.”
  • Considering the injuries in the Ravens secondary, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun says that the team “probably can’t afford to cut any corners” until the starters return to practice.
  • Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is expected to make his preseason debut on Sunday. After recovering from an ACL injury, some could be worried that the Pro-Bowler has lost some explosiveness. That does not include head coach Marvin Lewis, who told Geoff Hobson of that Geno looks like Geno.”