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Clayton: Marvin Lewis deserves a contract extension

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In an early December posting of our Six-Pack of Hu-Dey, we asked the question: Should the Bengals sign Marvin Lewis to a contract extension? Because we're not in the habit of repeating ourselves. Fully aware that there's new readers every day, ready to pounce on subjects we've hammered in the past, here's the gist of that point.

I believe in two things. If the moon had never existed, the complex living organisms that exist today simply don't exist either. I also believe that Marvin Lewis has developed a talent rebuilding teams. Theoretically, it would be nice that rebuilding projects were spaced out more with the Bengals and that the train keeps rolling year, after year, after year. Realistically, even organizations that pump out winners like the Patriots or the St... St... St... Steelers need periods to rebuild themselves. Marvin Lewis is now in his seventh season, finishing his second rebuilding project. This, just perhaps, could be his masterpiece.

After going 1-11-1 in 2008, the Bengals have remarkably won 13 of their next 16 games. These changes include, but are far from being limited to, a deep understanding of the team's personnel. Most notably, Lewis revised the team's entire philosophy to a powerful rush offense and a tremendously performing defense. This will be his second rebuilding project after taking on a team that was 2-12 in 2002 and delivering four straight non-losing seasons and a playoff appearance in 2005.

I really believe that Lewis, like any NFL player, is getting better every season. I'm not just talking about his record either. Controversy is being handled with ease. Adversity is a distant thing of the bitter past with this team. Even his draft picks are improving. And when the team is down and out (ala, 2008), they unified and matured like we've never seen, into this group that we're damned proud of in 2009.

Another point that wasn't explored, though still legitimate, is a bit more alarming. Do you want Mike Brown to handle the search for a new coach? How long would the transition effort be; going from the core that Marvin Lewis put together to a new squad with new philosophies? Can the new head coach do more with less? Secondly, who would you hire after Lewis? Taking into consideration that the bigger names, most of whom want GM-like titles, would cost much more than a promising young coach with family ties to a legendary coaching gene -- ala, Dave Shula -- could the Bengals find someone that gives them more than what we've had during the Marvin Lewis era? Who? Names like Bill Cowher wouldn't fly. Cost is the reason.

Mark Clayton made the argument that Lewis deserves an extension. He writes:

Lewis deserves the chance to have long-term security. The Bengals live on the edge when it comes to player acquisitions. A few years ago, they got in serious trouble in the locker room and with the league for drafting players with major character issues. In the past year, they've got back to taking chances on veterans with troubled pasts, but they have a decent success rate.

Defensive tackle Tank Johnson was a major success last season and deserves a long-term deal. Halfback Larry Johnson contributed to the backfield. Jones may not fill the void left by T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the late Chris Henry, but he is talented, and the cost was only around $700,000.

But a coach is only as good as his players and his ability to motivate them. Lewis did a great job last season. The 2009 Bengals were the most mature team in more than a decade. He was named coach of the year for turning a 4-12 team into a playoff team.

You get the feeling the Bengals will follow the Jones signing by being the leading team for Terrell Owens, as long as Owens signs a one-year deal. For taking on those types of locker-room challenges, Lewis needs to get his job security in writing.

I couldn't agree more.

Poll

The Bengals should...

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Sign Marvin Lewis to another four seasons
    (375 votes)
  • 24%
    Re-sign only if Lewis takes Bengals to the playoffs
    (130 votes)
  • 6%
    Let his contract expire and let him go
    (36 votes)
541 votes total Vote Now