The two veteran leaders of what appears to be the next up and coming elite defensive line, both get pay days.
One of the most elite pass rushing duos in the league both land big extensions with the Bengals today. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins both sign extensions. Dunlap’s deal was a 3 year $45 million deal while Geno received a 4 year deal worth over $65 million. Geno’s deal will see him paid an average of $16.3 million per year, the highest yearly average signed by a non-QB over the age of 30 in NFL history. It is a very promising sign to see the Bengals wisely invest the cap space they have been accumulating the past few seasons.
Geno currently has the second most sacks (61) in team history and is well on his way to becoming the all time leader in sacks for the Bengals. He also ranks top five in team history for forced fumbles. Geno has been a dominant force for Cincinnati, being named to six pro bowls and three All-Pro designations. Geno was one of the most important players the Bengals needed to get resigned and they made sure he did.
Minutes after the news of Geno’s extension broke, we got the news that Dunlap was also extended by the Bengals. Like Geno, Dunlap is one of the best pass rushers the Bengals have had in team history. Since joining the Bengals he has totaled 64.5 career sacks, which is the most in team history and just a couple more than Geno. His 16 forced fumbles is most in team history and also leads all defensive lineman with 42 passes defended in Bengals history. Dunlap was just as important as Geno this offseason and the Bengals handled the situation perfectly. The teams top two sack leaders in club history are here to stay.
Resigning two of your teams best defensive lineman in team history on the same day is huge, especially considering what they have to work with. The Bengals now have Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson, and Sam Hubbard signed through 2021. This is massive for the Bengals, especially when you consider just how dominant this defensive line has been through the first three weeks of preseason. They are in line to have one of the league’s top pass rushes throughout the next 3-5 seasons. They have the potential to lead the league in sacks as a team in 2018 and beyond.
It is also worth noting the Bengals still have a significant amount of cap space to spend on other notable players who are or will be in line for extensions, most importantly Darqueze Dennard. The Bengals appear to be handling things differently this offseason, which should leave Bengals fans happy looking into the future.