Marvin Lewis has done what no other Cincinnati head coach has ever done before with this franchise. He made it past the eight-year mark. He is the longest tenured head coach in Bengals history, surpassing legendary Paul Brown and Sam Wyche. Now after a surprising 2011 season, Marvin Lewis finds himself in the last year of his contract once again. So what is stopping the contract talks between Lewis and Mike Brown?
It is well known that in terms of the contract negotiations, the ball is in Lewis’ court. Mike Brown has made it known that he is open and ready to discuss Lewis’ future with the franchise whenever he is ready. It appears that Brown is doing everything right. He is letting Lewis take more control over football operations such as player and personnel management. Even though Brown still holds the GM title, it seems that he has been willing to share the responsibilities with Lewis.
Lewis has said that he is excited about the direction that this franchise is headed in. So why not sign an extension? There is a possibility that Lewis may want to obtain the GM title along with his head coach position. Brown has given a bit of leverage to Lewis in that department, but is there a possibility that Lewis is not content with that? Maybe Lewis wants to oversee the entire structure of the franchise without having to answer to Brown about personnel or player movement. There is a chance that Lewis doesn’t trust the leeway that Brown has given him thus far and wants more of a front office role to allow him to keep the franchise moving in the same direction.
Some say that Lewis should move on and isn’t worthy of a contract extension. This writer couldn’t disagree more with that statement. Keep in mind that before Marvin Lewis became head coach of this franchise, the Bengals were 55-137 with no playoff appearances in the 12 seasons before. Lewis’ record with the Bengals is 69-74-1 with three playoff appearances, even though they were all first round exits. Since the Bengals have such a young team right now, the last thing you would want to change is the coaching staff. It is very important for these young players to stay in the same structured environment for as many years as possible in order to achieve their true potential. When you start to shuffle coaches around and toy with new schemes, these players can become confused which is a hindrance on their playing ability.