After three consecutive trips to the playoffs, Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown has rewarded head coach Marvin Lewis with a one-year contract extension, meaning Lewis will be with the team through the 2015 season.
The team announced the move via Twitter:
Lewis, already one of the NFL's longest-tenured coaches, will hold the position for a minimum of 13 seasons as a result of the extension. He expressed his excitement about the new deal shortly after it was announced, via Jeremy Rauch of Fox 19:
“I’m blessed to continue to do a job I love here in Cincinnati, and with the Bengals organization." -- Marvin Lewis on one year extension.— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) March 14, 2014
Brown also released a statement, citing Lewis' consistency as the reason for the extension, via Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports:
Bengals say they've extended Marvin Lewis thru 2015. Says Mike Brown: “Marvin has earned this commitment for the job he is doing."— Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) March 14, 2014
While Lewis holds just a 90-90-1 record overall, including the playoffs, he has guided the Bengals to five postseason appearances during his tenure and three first-place finishes in the AFC North.
Good move by the Bengals to extend Lewis?
While Lewis has yet to guide the team to a playoff victory, he is often accredited with spearheading the modernization of a franchise stuck in neutral before his arrival, and his keen eye for talent and rehabilitation projects is a major reason Cincinnati has remained a consistent contender the past few seasons.
Continuity has been a major theme of Lewis' tenure, especially in recent years, so it should come as no surprise Brown wants to keep the band together—especially after losing coordinators Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer to Washington and Minnesota this offseason, respectively.
This is uncharted territory for Lewis, who has struggled without Zimmer helping to guide his defensive unit, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today illustrates:
#Bengals defense in years Marvin Lewis didn't have Mike Zimmer: 28th, 19th, 28th, 30th, 27th. Zimmer's now in Minnesota. Good luck.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2014
The fact both sides only agreed to a one-year extension suggests both the front office and Lewis want to see how the next few years unfold in regards to postseason success, especially with major names such as receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton in need of extensions.
The extension gives Lewis a little more wiggle room to execute his vision with the current talent in place and provides insurance should he not want to proceed with Dalton under center when the TCU product's contract expires after next season.
Like it or not, the front office in Cincinnati wants stability and secures it for another year with Lewis on board.