Atkins, a 2010 draft pick by the Bengals, is approaching his 33rd birthday and his production has declined over the past two seasons. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection was on contract through 2023 but his release opens up salary cap space, as he was going to count for $14.7 million against the cap this year. He will now account for a $5.7 million dead money hit.
Earlier Friday, the Bengals signed free agent right tackle Riley Reiff, who had come for a visit Thursday, and the organization also made official the free agent signings of defensive end Trey Hendrickson, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie.
Ogunjobi is expected to fill the 3-technique position next to D.J. Reader, a spot Atkins would have filled in years prior.
With the Reiff signing, Taylor also confirmed the Bengals are releasing right tackle Bobby Hart, as well as backup quarterback Ryan Finlay also .