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It is the end of an era. Geno Atkins is being released by the Cincinnati Bengals, according to head coach Zac Taylor. The long-time defensive tackle will now hit free agency for the first time in his 12-year NFL career.
Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic was the one to tweet out the news on Friday morning.
Zac Taylor says #Bengals are releasing Geno Atkins.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) March 19, 2021
The move isn’t all that surprising.
Atkins will be 33 years old at the end of this month, and his usage had declined drastically in 2020 following a Hall of Fame-worthy decade in Cincinnati. He was due $12.2 million in non-guaranteed money, and that just didn’t jive with other moves the team has made.
Issues on the Bengals’ defensive line have been addressed somewhat with the additions of defensive end Trey Hendrickson and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. They have also signed Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton and Riley Reiff to sizable contracts.
There still might be something left in the tank for Atkins, despite his age and declining production. He’s only two seasons removed from a four-year stretch that included 39 sacks and 86 QB hits, though that production dropped to 4.5 sacks in 2019 and zero this past season.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team such as the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots or Las Vegas Raiders make a move for the now former Bengal.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.