When Mike Zimmer left Cincinnati to become Minnesota's newest head coach, the decision to replace him was made. After a meeting between Mike Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis, Guenther agreed to a three-year deal on Wednesday, which will keep him in Cincinnati through 2016. Once that was settled, reports surfaced that the team promoted Guenther as their next defensive coordinator -- a move that officially announced on Thursday.
The transition was logical.
"Paul has been Zim’s right-hand man the last few years, so we’re moving in the direction of keeping a good thing going with our defense," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "He knows what we do and how we do it, and he had a hand in creating it. Paul and I have been mostly together since when we were both on the Redskins staff (in 2002). I've seen him grow over the years and really have sort of been grooming him for this kind of opportunity."
According to league rules, teams can block a coach under contract from taking a promotion with a new team, provided that position isn't for a head coaching opportunity. However, Guenther had a provision in his old contract, when he was the linebackers coach, that allowed him to leave for a promotion, such as a defensive coordinator in Washington or Minnesota. Former coordinators Jay Gruden, now the Redskins head coach, and Zimmer, were reportedly interested in bringing Guenther along.
The players that he has coached for years and not wanting to uproot his family to a new city, ended up being factors for him to stay.
Guenther: "Really at the end of the day it comes down to the players and that's the message I'm going to give to them. It's up to you guys."— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) January 16, 2014
Guenther: "I'm not Mike Zimmer, I'm Paul Guenther. I have to put my own stamp on things." #Bengals— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) January 16, 2014