The Cincinnati Bengals did something atypical of this franchise. They made a midseason trade, and they sent away a former Pro Bowl defensive end.
Carlos Dunlap got in a heated exchange with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo this past Sunday, and that seemed to be the last chip to fall. He was traded earlier this week for B.J. Finney and a seventh-round pick.
The Bengals are 1-5-1, and they have talented veterans on a roster trying to conform to their new head coach’s style. While Zac Taylor has had a year under his belt, the growing pains are still obvious, and it’s ruffling feathers with the veterans.
That said, it wasn’t just Dunlap that had seen less usage since Taylor’s addition. Fellow defensive star Geno Atkins hasn’t been the same as they’ve looked to reduce his snaps in wake of his age.
The idea was to keep him healthy later, but while doing that, it’s caused trade rumors to pop up. According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, teams have called, but the Bengals aren’t listening.
“In the wake of the Dunlap trade, my understanding is that teams have called the Bengals about veteran DT Geno Atkins and have been told he isn’t available,” Breer wrote on Thursday.
Atkins, like Dunlap, has been a staple of this franchise for a decade. Now 32, since being available in Week 5, Atkins has yet to play over 30 percent of defensive snaps. They need to involve him more, especially given their issues getting pressure on the quarterback.
Dunlap has made six straight Pro Bowls. The talent is obviously there, and he’s still one of the best in the league. While the season may not look salvageable, getting Atkins reps should still be a priority for this team.
That said, given the Bengals history, it’s not shocker he’s going to be off limits over the next few days.