Bengals do complete about-face, sign Marvin Lewis to two-year deal through 2019

Just when the world thought the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati was about to end, the Bengals reel everyone right back in by signing Lewis to a two-year contract extension that will keep him employed through 2019.

"Marvin Lewis has been an important member of the Cincinnati community and the Bengals family for the past 15 years, and we are happy to have reached this agreement," Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement released by the team. "Marvin has made significant contributions during his time here. While recently we have fallen short of our expectations, we have full confidence in Marvin to re-establish winning football in 2018."

The move is, frankly, stunning. Lewis was reportedly "planning to leave" the team after the season, with the expectation basically being the Bengals were not interested in renewing his contract for one more season.

Then the Bengals ripped off a pair of wins to close out the year and the Bengals coach with the most wins in franchise history showed up for his end-of-season press conference acting like he might not be leaving.

Reading between the lines it was almost clear, in a totally surreal way, that Lewis was going to be given at least one more year. Then the Bengals gave him TWO YEARS. 

Cincinnati and Brown have typically given Lewis just a one-year extension each offseason, declining to commit to him for an extended amount of time. After 2016, however, the Bengals declined to offer Lewis the extra year. It looked like either he would have a successful 2017 or he would be gone. And it sure looked like the latter until about 48 hours ago, when Lewis managed to turn the tide.

Now he's just back in charge for another two years. 

"My job is to win a World Championship," Lewis said Tuesday. "We have a talented roster full of veteran leaders and emerging young stars and I am committed to making the necessary improvements to put this team in the best position to win."

It does not sound like things will simply remain with the status quo for Lewis, however, as Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com believes there will be changes to the coaching staff in the coming days.

Specifically, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be leaving to explore other options. Guenther had been rumored to have interest in landing on Jon Gruden's coaching staff should the ESPN commentator take over the Raiders, as expected.

Lewis is actually a very successful Bengals coach, relative to the team's history, but he has not won a playoff game in seven attempts at the postseason. The Bengals were a laughingstock before Lewis took over, a 1990's version of the modern-day Cleveland Browns. Lewis has made them a respectable franchise that regularly competes in the AFC North. That can't be ignored.

On the other hand, the playoff losses are a real thing. Lewis will get two more chances to improve his record. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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