Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins could be in line for a contract extension soon, as Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports that the team will make a push to give the All-Pro defensive lineman a new deal before the beginning of the regular season.
Atkins, 25, is entering the final year of the four-year contract he signed as a rookie after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Set to become a free agent in March, the Bengals would prefer not to allow any room for the possibility that Atkins does not stay with the team long-term.
After earning just three sacks in one start as a rookie, Atkins earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2011 with 7.5 sacks as a full-time starter. He earned another trip to the Pro Bowl in 2012 with 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, also earning a spot on the AP All-Pro team.
On Pro Football Focus, Atkins ranked as the best defensive tackle of 2012 and his grade would have been the best at the position of any of the seasons that PFF has looked at. He also ranked as third on the website's list of the top 101 players of the 2012 season behind only Adrian Peterson and J.J. Watt.