The Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason philosophy of not looking for answers elsewhere and focusing instead on re-signing their own guys extended beyond the roster Friday afternoon as head coach Marvin Lewis agreed to a one-year contract extension that will run through 2015.
“I’m blessed to keep doing what I do,” said Lewis, who is 90-85-1 in 11 seasons with the Bengals but 0-5 in playoff games.
“We’ve made a lot of progress,” Lewis continued. “We’re not a finished product yet, but we continue to work hard at it.”
Lewis has received a new or extended contract seven times since he was hired in 2003, despite the fact that he owns the NFL record for most games coached with one team without a playoff win.
His 90 wins are a franchise record — as are his 181 games coached, which are well ahead of Sam Wyche’s 132 — and Lewis ranks second to New England’s Bill Belichick for longest tenure with the same team.
“Marvin has earned this commitment for the job he is doing,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement. “We are one of only five teams to qualify for the playoffs the last three years, and our prospects are bright looking ahead. Marvin is driven to achieve more, and we are happy to secure his leadership of our team beyond the coming season.”
But the fact that the extension is only for one year is hardly a ringing endorsement.
“I think it’s good for us as a football team,” Lewis said. “And for Mike, it was important to him. He was persistent in that he did not want me to go into the season with one year left on the contract. So we were able to come to an agreement.”
It is one of the few moves the Bengals have made since free agency began Tuesday. The club re-signed wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate and guard Mike Pollak earlier in the week, and Friday afternoon they acquired former linebacker Dontay Moch off waivers from Arizona.
But all of the other transactions have involved attrition. The Bengals released a pair of veterans in linebacker James Harrison and center Kyle Cook, with an eye on moving Pollak to center. And they let three players sign with other teams — defensive end Michael Johnson, offensive tackle Anthony Collins (Tampa Bay) and cornerback Brandon Ghee (San Diego).
Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins may be the next to leave after receiving a four-year contract from Cleveland. Because Hawkins is a restricted free agent, the Bengals have the right to match the offer, although Lewis said no decision has been made yet. The deadline is Tuesday.
Moch was a third-round pick in 2011, but he only appeared in one regular-season game for the Bengals due to injuries and a bout with migraines. He showed promise when healthy, recording a combined 6.5 sacks the last two preseasons. Moch played in three games with Arizona last season.