The Cincinnati Bengals added numerous players thus far this offseason, and subtracted one of their all-time greats in the process.
Geno Atkins was released by the club just two-and-a-half weeks ago. The move saved the Bengals nearly $10 million in cap space, and paved the way for Atkins’ mentee, Larry Ogunjobi, to start in his place at defensive tackle.
Atkins has not signed on with another team yet, and this could be good news for the Bengals.
On the latest edition of the Bengals Booth Podcast, Cincinnati’s director of player personnel Duke Tobin was asked if the team was interested in signing Atkins back on a cheaper deal. Tobin certainly didn’t dismiss the idea:
“I think it’s all to be determined with Geno, we’ve got such a regard for him,” Tobin said. “You’re talking about a rare guy, and we thought he gave what he could this past year, and with where his contract was we had to make a move, but who knows what the future holds. We’ll see if there are things that can be worked out. If it is, great. If not, I think we’ve got other guys that can fill the role.”
The Bengals didn’t appear to be done at defensive line after signing Ogunjobi and edge defender Trey Hendrickson. They were reportedly in the running for Sheldon Rankins and brought in Ryan Kerrigan for a visit not long after the first waves of free agency ended.
If Atkins were to be brought back, it’s clear he would be in a reduced role behind Ogunjobi. The idea of Ogunjobi and Atkins—two close friends who train together—rotating in and out at 3-technique for a season with Mike Daniels is definitely an intriguing one.
There’s still a chance Atkins finds a new team before Cincinnati makes a move on him, but they clearly think he isn’t quite done. His shoulder injury drastically limited what he could do in 2020, and had he not suffered that injury, he would probably still be rostered by the Bengals.
So long as Atkins remains available, we can’t dismiss the possibility of him returning to the Queen City for one more season.