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Bengals sign Atkins, Dunlap to multi-year extensions

While Aaron Donald awaits a new deal from the Los Angeles Rams, the Cincinnati Bengals are taking care of their two stars along the defensive line.

Cincinnati signed two-time All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins and two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap to separate extensions on Tuesday.

Atkins agreed to a four-year extension through 2022, Atkins' agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced Tuesday on Twitter. Atkins' new contract is worth $65.3 million, sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The defensive tackle receives $25.5 million in the first year and more than half of the deal ($37.5M) in the the first two years. His $16.3M yearly average is the highest annual rate signed by a 30-plus-year-old non-quarterback in NFL history.

Dunlap agreed to a three-year extension through 2021 worth $45 million, a source told Rapoport.

Atkins and Dunlap were both in the final seasons of five-year deals signed in 2013. Cincinnati selected both players in the 2010 draft (Dunlap in the second round, Atkins in the fourth).

Since entering the league, Dunlap ranks 10th in the league in sacks (64.5) and Atkins ranks 18th (61), the two making up arguably the most consistent pass-rushing duo of the decade.

As Atkins and Dunlap enter their 30s, they are surrounded by young and promising talent on Cincy's defensive line. Atkins shares the defensive tackle position with third-year prospect Andrew Billings. Across from Dunlap is sophomore rising star Jordan Willis.

By signing Atkins before Donald, the league's top defensive tackle, signs his extension, Cincinnati avoided having to pay Atkins at the rate dictated by another organization.

But more importantly, by extending Atkins and Dunlap ahead of the season, the Bengals have assured their front-seven nucleus remains in-house into the next decade.

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