Some veteran players in the NFL are waiting for training camps to conclude before they choose their next team for the 2021 season. While Geno Atkins is partly doing the same, he’s recovering from a torn rotator cuff that he sustained last December with the Cincinnati Bengals. Even before Atkins suffered the season-ending shoulder injury, his role with the Bengals was rapidly deteriorating, which led to his release from the team this offseason.
Atkins, who turned 33 years old back in March, is still capable of being a solid contributor for any defense. Atkins was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro during his 11 seasons in Cincinnati. But with Atkins nearing the end of his career, he will be playing for a team not named the Bengals for the first time in his career.
While the regular season nears, here are three teams that should consider signing Atkins.
Mike Zimmer is attempting to get the Minnesota Vikings back to a team that boasts one of the league’s best defenses again. Minnesota surrendered the sixth-most yards per game and the fourth-most points per game in 2020. But with Paul Guenther now operating as a senior defensive assistant with the Vikings, the team is hoping for a different outcome in 2021.
Guenther, who served as a defensive coordinator of the Bengals from 2014-2017, is familiar with Atkins. During his four years under Guenther, Atkins logged 32 sacks, 48 tackles for loss, 76 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. The Vikings are getting Michael Pierce back after he opted out of last season, along with signing Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson.
While Minnesota is crowded in the interior, you can never have enough depth, and Atkins would be comfortable working with Guenther again.
The defense of the Seattle Seahawks has been searching thoroughly for aid in the pass-rushing department in recent years. Jamal Adams, who recently became the highest-paid safety in the NFL, led the team in sacks with 9.5 last season. Seattle did acquire Carlos Dunlap in a trade with the Bengals last season, producing five sacks in his eight games with the Seahawks.
Maybe Geno Atkins could reunite with his former running mate in Dunlap and join Seattle’s defense. With Poona Ford and Al Woods in the interior, Atkins could potentially earn a starting role with the Seahawks if he shows that he is healthy from his shoulder injury. On a team that could use any help they could possibly get on the defensive front, Seattle should definitely consider bringing in Atkins for the 2021 season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When looking at the roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they don’t have many holes. After winning the Super Bowl last season, the Buccaneers were able to return all 22 of their starters this offseason. But if there is an area that could us some work, it’s the depth in the interior of their defensive line. Ndamukong Suh isn’t getting any younger and Vita Vea has had injury issues in recent seasons.
Geno Atkins has never experienced what it’s like to play for a Super Bowl contender due to playing for the Bengals. The Buccaneers have shown a willingness to add veteran players with them having a win-now mentality with Tom Brady under center. Adding Atkins to bolster their depth on the defensive line would definitely give Tampa Bay a better chance to defend their title as Super Bowl champions.