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Bengals News (3/20): Cincinnati contacting Trai Turner

The Bengals don’t seem to be done improving their offensive line in free agency.

Carolina Panthers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Bengals Tap Atkins Protege Ogunjobi As Geno Speaks Through His Successor
It's not many days in the history of a franchise you say good-bye to a potential first ballot Hall-of-Famer, but the Bengals had to do it to get the things done they need to get done when they released eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

Joe Burrow puts his stamp on the Bengals roster as the team makes moves in free agency
The author on the next book about the Bengals is going to have to circle March 19, 2021. It's the day the Bengals officially became the team of quarterback Joe Burrow in his second year in the second year of the second decade of the Zooming '20s.

Cincinnati Bengals agree to trade Ryan Finley, release Geno Atkins and Bobby Hart
*Atkins, a 12th-year player out of the University of Georgia, originally was a fourth-round pick of the Bengals in 2010. In his 11 seasons in Cincinnati, Atkins compiled 75.5 sacks, third-most in team history and more than double the amount of the next-highest DT. Additionally, his eight Pro Bowl selections are the most ever by a Bengals defensive player, and second-most in team history overall.

Bengals sign Chidobe Awuzie, Trey Hendrickson, Mike Hilton, Larry Ogunjobi and Riley Reiff in free agency
*Awuzie (6-0, 202), a fifth-year player out of the University of Colorado, originally was a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. He spent each of his first four NFL seasons with Dallas and played in 49 games, recording 213 tackles, four INTs, 37 PDs, two FFs and two FRs. His Bengals contract is a three-year deal through the 2023 season.

Cincinnati Bengals release eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins
The deal was done when the Bengals signed former Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, a 26-year-old protégé of Atkins. Ogunjobi, a third-round pick out of Charlotte in 2017, became a fan of Atkins' play and the two became close when Ogunjobi reached out and now it looks like he'll replace Atkins in the starting lineup next to nose tackle D.J. Reader.

Riley Reiff signs with the Bengals, to start at right tackle
The Reiff signing came in the wake of Thursday night's hardcore recruiting effort in an upstairs room at Jeff Ruby's swanky east side eatery that included the four new defensive starters. Former Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie ordered The Precinct's Steak Burrow and later Reiff was convinced that he wanted to join the effort to protect high grade franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.

How a steak dinner turned a recruiting trip into a celebration for Bengals
They were split among three tables -- one downstairs, two upstairs -- inside Jeff Ruby's The Precinct, a fixture of Cincinnati's food scene. Among those at the downstairs table were three notable people -- quarterback Joe Burrow, coach Zac Taylor and free-agent offensive tackle Riley Reiff, who was on a recruiting visit.

Cincinnati Bengals have been in contact with former Los Angeles Chargers guard Trai Turner
As poor as Bobby Hart has played over the past three seasons at right tackle, the Bengals' guard play was even worse in 2020. Adding at least one proven interior lineman is crucial. It's probably the biggest goal remaining on their free agency check list.

Bengals flurry of moves: Cincy trades a quarterback, signs new offensive tackle and releases 8-time Pro Bowler
The Cincinnati Bengals have been aggressive in free agency thus far, signing the likes of pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and former rival cornerback Mike Hilton, but they were arguably the most active team in terms of player movement on Friday. During what was a wild morning, the Bengals released star defensive tackle Geno Atkins, signed offensive tackle Riley Reiff and traded away quarterback Ryan Finley.

Grade for Cincinnati Bengals Veteran Offensive Tackle Riley Reiff
Protecting Joe Burrow is the number one priority for the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. They took the first step in achieving that goal on Friday by signing offensive tackle Riley Reiff. Cincinnati wined and dined the mauler, who many pegged as the best offensive lineman remaining on the market.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Jets take Justin Fields, Bengals protect Joe Burrow, Lions get Jared Goff a weapon
Now that the first week of free agency has come to an end, we're starting to see teams fill some immediate needs on their roster with veteran players. Some acquisitions are so significant that they completely take some positional options off the table in the first round. However, with the NFL Draft it's about the long-term in regards to team building. So, even if a team signed a solid veteran to perhaps a one- or two-year deal, it doesn't mean they wouldn't take an opportunity on a younger, talented player who has more upside and who is also cheaper.

Geno Atkins cut: Bengals release eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle
A potential parting of ways between Atkins and the Bengals had been a possibility for months because of a combination of factors: his existing contract, his age and his lack of availability in 2020. After appearing in 16 games in all but one season from 2010-2019, Atkins played in a career-low eight contests in 2020, recording one tackle.

NFL free agency: Cincinnati Bengals don’t sound done just yet
We now have a little more confirmation of this idea, too. According to Geoff Hobson of, the Bengals are “still apparently in the mix with Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay” and “guard still very much a focus in free agency.”

Around the League

Patriots' throwback approach should frighten NFL; five surprise free-agent signings
Like Marty McFly hopping in the DeLorean to time travel back to the 1950s, Belichick is taking his roster back to the early 2000s. The six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach has recommitted to constructing the ultimate complementary football squad. With an aggressive start to free agency, New England has scooped up a collection of players who'll give the team the ability to play smashmouth football on offense, thus supplementing a veteran-laden defense that'll stymie opponents with its size, strength and versatility.

JuJu Smith-Schuster agrees to one-year deal to return to Steelers
NFL Network's Taylor Bisciotti reported Friday that the receiver is returning to the Steelers on a one-year contract, per a source informed of the situation. Smith-Schuster is taking a lesser deal to remain in Pittsburgh rather than move on.

Lance Zierlein 2021 NFL mock draft 2.0: How does the first wave of free agency impact Round 1?
The 2020 opt-out has tremendous athletic ability with more development physically and technically ahead of him. He should start at a tackle spot early on, with Jonah Williams bumping inside.

2021 NFL Draft: Every team's full set of picks
This is a look at the picks each team holds in the 2021 NFL Draft, and some of the details we know so far about this year's event. When is the 2021 NFL Draft? Round 1 will take place on April 29, Rounds 2-3 will be held on April 30 and Rounds 4-7 will be held on May 1.