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Decision on Marvin Lewis’ future needs to happen ASAP

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Only a limited number of applicants are available for a growing list of head-coaching jobs.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Paul Guenther

There are only 32 head coaches in the National Football League. And there are only a limited number of individuals who are qualified to hold down one of those jobs.

And so far, there are six openings around the league. Detroit’s Jim Caldwell, Chuck Pagano of Indianapolis, Oakland’s Jack Del Rio, John Fox of the Bears and the Giants’ Ben McAdoo were all let go recently, and Bruce Arians just retired from Arizona.

So, the list of qualified applicants is likely to get pared down in a hurry.

That makes it all the more imperative that Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis make a decision as quickly as possible as to whether or not Lewis will return for another season. And, according to Lewis, it is a decision that must be made by both of them after due deliberation.

“It’s mutual,” Lewis said of the decision whether he will return. “Every decision I’ve ever made here has been mutual with both of us. It’s always been mutual. It has to be that way.”

And there is apparently no timetable as to when a decision might be reached.

“I don’t think it will draw on too long,” he said. “We’ll continue to talk. I wish I could give you more news, but I can’t.”

Despite that fact that there is only a limited number of qualified applicants available, neither Lewis nor Brown appear to be in any hurry to force a decision one way or the other.

“This isn’t a paper route,” Lewis said. “There are things both of us want to feel good about. “People have their viewpoints, I have my viewpoints. There is a direction owner has to have. He has hired me to do a job and have to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Should Lewis not return, one of the names being mentioned as a possible replacement is Bengals’ defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

But Guenther is also rumored to be John Gruden’s first choice for defensive coordinator, should he decide to take the head coaching position at Oakland. Washington’s Jay Gruden may also be interested in his services.

None of the Lewis’ assistant coaches are under contract for next season and, in addition to Guenther, some may be under consideration for positions with other teams. The longer the decision drags on, the better the chance that some of these coaches may decide to go elsewhere.

“It is hard,” Lewis agreed. “I met with the assistants this morning about it. I told them I would get them where things are as quick as I could. It’s unfortunate they’re stuck in this limbo. It makes for some urgency for both parties. They’re basically free agents, as well.”