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Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals discuss long-term deal

It appears we'll have a nice Geno Atkins subplot to follow during the current season of "Hard Knocks."

NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Thursday that the Pro Bowl defensive tackle and the Cincinnati Bengals are discussing a long-term contract, per a source involved in the negotiations. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news.

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Atkins -- perhaps the best 4-3 defensive tackle in football -- has one year and $1.42 million remaining on the rookie contract he signed with the Bengals in 2010.

Schefter reported that the sides have been engaged in talks for weeks. The typically stingy Bengals made a splash earlier this summer when they signed defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a six-year, $40 million contract.

If the Bengals secure Atkins to go with Dunlap, it almost certainly would mean defensive end Michael Johnson -- the team's franchise player this season -- will play elsewhere in 2014.

If that's the cost of keeping the dynamic Atkins in a Bengals uniform, it's well worth it.

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