Cowboys to Sign 2x All-Pro Defender Before Season?

Geno Atkins Cowboys

Getty The Cowboys could have an interest in Geno Atkins.

The Dallas Cowboys again are being connected to Geno Atkins.

It was reported last month that the eight-time Pro Bowl former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, who ended last season on injured reserve, would soon undergo a medical checkup with a Cowboys team doctor.

On Thursday, Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling used Atkins’ proximity to Dallas — as well as the organization’s need at the position he plays — to speculate on a potential signing ahead of the 2021 campaign.

It’s debatable as to whether Geno Atkins was ever a household name during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals despite his ranking right alongside names like Aaron Donald as an elite interior pass-rusher.

Either way, Atkins fell all the way off the map last year after suffering a shoulder injury in training camp and limping through the season before getting shut down after eight games.

According to Rapoport, Atkins anticipates medical clearance by July 1 and has several interested teams. No wonder, as Atkins, now 33, has 76 sacks over 161 games and projects to excel quite well in a rotation.

It’s fitting that Atkins’ checkup will come with a Dallas Cowboys team doctor, as that rebuilding defense needs all the help it can get. Dallas is going back to basics after a convoluted scheme created disaster last year, and it doesn’t get much more basic and effective than Atkins disrupting pockets from the heart of the trenches.

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Decorated in Cincy

Atkins, a 2010 fourth-round draft pick, has spent the entirety of his professional tenure in the Queen City. And he’s been an unvarnished gem for the Bengals, totaling 384 tackles, 75.5 sacks, and eight forced fumbles across 161 games, including 134 starts.

The two-time first-team All-Pro, however, suffered through a career-worst 2020 in which — due to a nagging shoulder injury that eventually required surgery — he failed to record a sack over just eight appearances.

Atkins was released by Cincinnati on March 19. Weeks later, Bengals director of personnel Duke Tobin indicated the club was open to re-signing the 33-year-old at a reduced cost.

“Geno is one of the greatest players in franchise history and one of the best defensive tackles of the last decade,” Tobin said on April 5. “He gave us what he had last year … We’ll see if there are things that can be worked out. If it is, great. If not, I think we’ve got other guys that can fill the role.”

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Cowboys Signing Remains Unlikely

Although Atkins should be good to go for training camp, there’s little reason to believe he’ll be hunkering down in Oxnard next month. Rapoport specified in his June 4 report the Cowboys aren’t hosting Atkins on an official free-agent visit.

“Cowboys team physician Dr. Dan Cooper performed the surgery on Atkins,” he said. “To be clear, that’s why he’s doing the checkup. It’s not a Dallas visit.”

The reporting hasn’t since changed as the Cowboys appear content to head into camp with holdovers Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill, veteran newcomer Carlos Watkins, and rookies Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna comprising the DT depth chart.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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