After locking up defensive end Carlos Dunlap with a long-term extension earlier this summer, the Cincinnati Bengals are now making a major push to sign Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins to a long-term deal, a source familiar with the situation said Thursday.
Talent evaluators said this week they regard Atkins as the best defensive tackle in the NFL, and the Bengals recognize that.
The two sides have been engaged in talks for weeks in an attempt to get a deal done.
The Bengals have been known for being conservative in the past. But when it comes to their young defensive line talent, they are being aggressive.
Atkins, 25, had 53 tackles, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles last season.