They’re getting “aggressive,” per Schefter. 25 years old, Atkins is owed $1.423 million in the final year of his rookie deal, and has emerged the past two seasons as the premier gap-shooting 4-3 defensive tackle in football. After locking up LE Carlos Dunlap, Atkins tops the Bengals’ list of priorities. They’re going to let franchise player RE Michael Johnson walk after this year.
Atkins is set to receive one of the biggest contracts of any defensive player in the NFL. He’s emerged as the league’s top defensive tackle over the past couple of years.