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Bengals Need to Sign Marvin Lewis to a Long-Term Extension

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James Walker is asking the same question that we've been asking since last October. Will Marvin Lewis sign a contract extension? "According to the 2009 NFL Coach of the Year, the Bengals approached him twice -- once in October and once in January -- about working out a new deal," writes Walker. "Yet, both times the sides failed to reach an agreement."

Many suspect that Lewis wants additional control over personnel decisions -- a point that won't be given up lightly by the Brown family -- mostly thanks to subtle hints during the NFL Combine earlier this year.

“There’s a lot of things that go into that. In the direction of things that we’re doing and how we’re doing things that are important to me,” Lewis said. “There were things when I started in this job in 2003 that were important and we can’t change those. They have to stay on track and I have to make sure we’re continuing to progress that way. Those are the things that are more important to me as anything.

“I’m talking about structure, decision and how we do things and how I have the ability to do things that give us an opportunity to win football games.”

Getting Lewis signed to a long-term deal could be the team's highest priority from now until his contract expires. I know what some of you will say. Lewis will be entering his eighth season as the Bengals head coach and only has two winning seasons and no playoff wins to show. Well, you can't beat cold hard facts. But from the time Sam Wyche left to the time Marvin Lewis was hired, the Bengals were considered one of the worst teams in professional sports -- no thanks to illogical hiring of a coach with a popular last name for example. If Lewis leaves, could the Bengals coaching search take another 10-plus years? Could you deal with that?