Exhibit A: Immediately following his rehiring, Coach Lewis took on the 2010 Draft, which yielded Jermaine Gresham, Carlos Dunlap, Jordan Shipley, Geno Atkins and Brandon Ghee; strangely productive when compared the previous 2009-2004 Drafts. Wrapped tightly around draft was the need to find an immediate complement to Ochocino since the tragic death of Chris Henry dulled an offense looking to make a play-off run. Explicitly, the Bengals had three big choices in Free Agency – Brandon Marshall (Denver), Antonio Bryant (Tampa Bay) and Terrell Owens (Buffalo). Marshall was openly passed on, and most considered this was because of the price tag associated with him, which was very easy to swallow given Mike Brown’s history of poor monetary incentivization. But what if Coach Lewis passed on Marshall because of character concerns, not money; which would make sense as Bryant would have fit the current roster scheme like a glove. But no overt reason was ever given, and thus fiscal assumptions were allowed to stand. The Bengals selected Bryant, but his knee was found to have major medical concerns, which forced Cincinnati to drop him from their roster at the last possible minute. This, along with the personal campaign of Ochocinco, forced the acquisition of Terrell Owens out of necessity, not choice. It was an admitted gamble, and it failed.
Remember two years ago? Head Coach Marvin Lewis was at the end of his contractual rope, but the Bengals had just come off only their second trip to the play-offs in the past two decades. Owner Mike Brown reached out with a 2-year extension, but the details surrounding it was never quite solidified. This may be a mad theory, but I offer the following: for the past two years Mike Brown has not been the maestro to any personnel decisions whatsoever – Marvin Lewis was. In the wake of the 2011 Draft, consider the empirical evidence that suggests the haggled price for services retained was something more.