ESPN: Bengals Reward Defensive Tackle Geno Atkins With Extension

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-09_ba97da9799.jpgDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The Cincinnati Bengals hope to have one of the top defenses in the NFL this season, and now they've rewarded arguably their best defensive player.  Defensive tackle Geno Atkins has agreed to a contract extension with the club.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter is reporting that the Bengals and Atkins have agreed on a five year extension worth $55 million. Atkins' new contract is the second-highest contract ever given to a defensive tackle. Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata signed a five-year, $61 million extension with the team back in 2011.

The 25-year old Smith will earn $22 million within the first six months of his new contract. He was originally scheduled to earn $1.4 million originally this season under his rookie deal.

Since being drafted in the fourth round back in 2010, Atkins has steadily risen to become one of the best defensive players in the NFL.

Last season he had 53 tackles, four forced fubmles, and 12.5 sacks.

In 2012, the Bengals ranked seventh in the NFL in stopping the pass and also ranked 12th in stopping the run.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio