Bengals' Star DT Geno Atkins One of Many NFL Veterans Being 'Floated' in Trade Talks

Atkins is an eight-time Pro Bowler
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CINCINNATI — The Bengals are one of many teams expected to move on from some of their veteran players in the coming days. 

Releasing or trading guys like Geno Atkins and Bobby Hart would clear more cap space before free agency begins on March 17. 

Cincinnati enters the week with $42.55 million in room. That number would jump to over $52 if they release Atkins. They'd save over $9 million against the cap. 

Even though releasing him seems like a foregone conclusion, Atkins has "been floated for trades in football circles" according to Albert Breer.

"He has relatively reasonable numbers the next two years ($12.2 million, $13.45 million) but turns 33 in March, and a shoulder injury severely hampered his game last fall," Breer wrote in his MMQB column. "He’s another one [player] who will probably be cut if he’s not traded."

Atkins only appeared in five games in 2020, finishing with just one tackle. He played through a shoulder injury that ultimately ended his season. He had surgery and is expected to make a full recovery. While he's still a quality player, it's going to be hard to find a team willing to trade for his contract. 

There are plenty of other top dollar veterans that could be on the move this week including Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown and Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell

Cincinnati will likely release Atkins, but they'll have plenty of space to sign multiple veteran players that get released by other teams due to their bloated contracts.  

The Bengals should be interested in Norwell and Brown—both guys would be upgrades to an offensive line that's in desperate need of more talent. 

“I think it’s gonna be really hard for those sellers, I really do,” one AFC general manager told Breer. “The way I see it, and I’m just making this one up, but say you trade for Norwell, there’d have to be something in place that says you restructure the deal, lower his cap this year and maybe he’d get some of it back on [not-likely-to-be-earned] incentives. A lot of guys want to be traded to keep their money. But the numbers are too high. Teams aren’t fired up about it.”

That's why a guy like Norwell, who's still a high-end pass blocking guard, could ultimately be released. The same goes for any quality veteran currently on the chopping block. 

It's going to be an interesting week in the NFL. The Bengals should be able to improve their team, even if they end up releasing Atkins.

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