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Bengals hope to get contract extensions for Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins

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Two of the NFL’s best at their respective positions are in line for another big payday soon.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

If you were to rank the Cincinnati Bengals’ best players, Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins would certainly be near the top.

Atkins is arguably the team’s best player, and Dunlap is easily one of the top 4-5 Bengals as well. And if we’re factoring in durability (no missed games over the last four seasons), they’ve easily been the two most consistent players.

That’s why getting one, if not both players signed to new long-term deals will be among Cincinnati’s biggest goals this offseason. According to Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson, getting extensions for Atkins and Dunlap are a major priority this offseason.

Both players are set to play in contract years next season if not extended. Having both of them hit free agency in 2019 would make it much likelier one of them ends up elsewhere, if not both.

Both defenders have spent their entire pro careers in Cincinnati after joining the team in the 2010 NFL Draft. They’ve been paid handsomely after signing extensions prior to their rookie contracts expiring, but they’ll look to continue being paid the big bucks in the near future.

Age will certainly be a factor in their next contracts, as Atkins is set to turn 30 in March, while Dunlap turns 29 in February. Saying this, both players played at a very high level this past season, enough to think they have several good years left in them.

I’d expect the Bengals to offer both of them at least a three-year extension paying them at about what they’re making now. Dunlap is set to make $7.3 million in 2018, while Atkins will count for $9.5 million.

Saying this, I think both players will push for bigger deals and may even want to hit free agency in 2019. After all, neither player has tasted playoff success in their careers, and with Marvin Lewis back for the foreseeable future, they may be ready to find a team closer to being a Super Bowl contender.

The Bengals certainly have their pieces to get to that level with a good offseason, but after back-to-back losing seasons, they could also drift further from being a title contender.

After watching Andrew Whitworth leave last offseason after appearing to be locked into finishing his career in Cincinnati, don’t assume Atkins and Dunlap will be here in 2019.

Let’s just hope the Bengals do everything in their power to keep those two until they retire.