Marvin Lewis may not get his usual offseason contract extension this year.
Despite rumors of retirement and hot-seat talk, Lewis will be back as the Bengals’ head coach for the 2017 NFL season. But unlike nearly every year Lewis has been in Cincinnati, he may not have long-term job security when the regular season opens.
In an interview with ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, Lewis revealed he does not see an extension getting done before the start of the 2017 season.
"I don't anticipate anything happening," Lewis said. "It's not really a subject that's on my mind. I don't think it's on Mike's mind, either. I've gone into many seasons without a new contract. It's not a focus for me."
Bengals owner Mike Brown has given Lewis a one-year extension in almost every offseason in which Lewis was entering the final year of his deal. While Lewis doesn’t deserve an extension after 14 years and zero playoff wins, you can’t fault him for wanting one, both for the sake of himself and his staff.
No one wants to be a lame-duck coach, but it’s hard to look at Lewis as anything else if he coaches 2017 without an extension through 2018. If Lewis were to get some kind of extension, he still should be firmly on the hot seat this coming season after a 6-9-1 campaign in 2016.
Regardless of how many new players the Bengals have or how many years left Lewis has on his deal when the 2017 opens, his team needs to show significant improvement for him to be back in 2018, or at least that’s how it should be. Brown has shown he’s willing to tolerate both on-field struggles and off-field antics more than most owners, so perhaps another disastrous season would need to take place for Lewis to lose his job.
Even with the players the Bengals have lost over the past two offseasons, they still have more than enough talent to have a winning record and contend for a playoff berth. That’s the very least Lewis’ team should do in 2017 in order to save his job.
What do you think has to happen for Lewis to keep (or lose) his job next year?