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Bengals reportedly release 8-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

It's the end of an era for the Cincinnati Bengals. The team parted ways with a franchise icon Friday, reportedly releasing defensive tackle Geno Atkins, according to Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The move will save the Bengals $9.5 million.

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Atkins' release comes as many NFL teams are cutting good players in an attempt to get under the salary cap. The Chicago Bears are among that group, as the team will reportedly cut cornerback Kyle Fuller. The New Orleans Saints have made multiple moves to try and stay under the cap.

Atkins was limited to eight games last season after suffering a shoulder injury in training camp. He recorded just one solo tackle last season.

The last time Atkins was healthy, he showed he could still play at a high level. In 2019, Atkins started 14 games, recorded 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl.

End of an era in Cincinnati

With the move, a large chunk of the players who defined the Bengals over the past decade have moved on.

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Atkins joins Andy Dalton, Carlos Dunlap and A.J. Green as core players who have now left the team. Dalton left prior to the 2020 season, signing with the Dallas Cowboys. After one season in Dallas, Dalton joined the Bears on Tuesday. The Bengals traded Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks last year.

Atkins and Green played out last season with the Bengals. Green was expected to hit free agency, and signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday. Atkins isn't technically a free agent yet, so it's unclear where he will go.

If Atkins, who will be 33 in March, can put his shoulder injury behind him, he should draw plenty of interest on the open market.

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