The 2018 off-season is maybe the most important off-season in Marvin Lewis career. He already knows the Offensive Line has to be filled with Free Agent acquisitions and play a depth role in the draft. The most important issue in this Off-season is extending the contracts of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.
Clearly both Atkins and Dunlap hold the most value on the defense. The Defensive Line would have to be totally reconstructed if they go to Free Agency next off-season. Other than Geno missing the last two months of the 2013 season both have been injury free for the most part.
Geno Atkins is a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first team All Pro. He recorded 290 tackles, 61 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 8 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and scored 1 touchdown. Carlos Dunlap is a two-time Pro Bowler with 361 tackles 64.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 42 pass deflections, 2 interceptions and 3 touchdowns.
- When will they agree on a contract extension? Well the sooner the better. It is better to do it first thing so you wont run out of cap space.
- Will either player accept less so the Bengals can get two or three solid Offensive Linemen in Free Agency? It is hard to tell. Both Atkins and Dunlap are not getting paid elite contracts for their elite play. The contracts will be big but maybe they can play with the guarantee money.
- Will both players leave in Free Agency in 2019 if an extension isn’t done now? Any player will always follow the money trail and offers will be way to high for Mike Brown to want to pay. It is always holding you in high regard for extending way before Free Agent period for that player. Both players will leave if something doesn’t get done.
In conclusion, there is no reason not to re-sign both in the next coming month or two. By the end of their careers Atkins and Dunlap should eclipse the 100 sack marks and be on top of the Bengals records for sacks. Marvin Lewis has always been a defensive guy. He built this so he will patch this up.