There's an extra layer of complexity added to the Friday afternoon contract extension Marvin Lewis received from the Bengals. Turns out, Browns coach and former Cincy offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was nearly involved.
According to Mike Silver on NFL Network, when discussing contract extensions, Lewis went to Bengals owner Mike Brown and offered him a deal that involved a succession plan for Jackson.
But Brown didn't want to put anything in writing guaranteeing Jackson a job in two years and the talented offensive coordinator bolted.
"With Hue Jackson, his offensive coordinator, a hot head coaching candidate, Marvin Lewis went to Hue Jackson and together they hatched a plan that would have kept Hue Jackson on with a two-year succession plan at which point Marvin Lewis would step down," Silver said. "They went and shopped that to owner Mike Brown, who did not want to put that in writing."
Clearly Jackson, part of an ever-growing coaching tree for Lewis that includes multiple head coaches (Jay Gruden of the Redskins, Mike Zimmer of the Vikings and Jackson), liked the idea of remaining in Cincinnati and being groomed to take over.
It sounds like Brown was interested too, but just didn't want to guarantee it. Nothing wrong with that -- lots of things can change in two years.
What's interesting about this is two things for Marvin. One, as Silver notes, he does have more job security than people realize. He's the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL and, despite not having a playoff win on his resume, he's turned the Bengals around. Lewis is all but guaranteed to get two more years on his current contract if he wants.
The other thing is the possibility Lewis wants to walk away after that deal. There was a theory this season about Lewis moving into a front-office role after the year was over and handing the reigns to Jackson. Maybe this was the play Lewis wanted to set up?
Either way it's possible he's considering the idea of changing up his role with the Bengals as he approaches the age of 60.
Whatever happens it won't involve Jackson after Brown passed on locking him in. The AFC North development of competition between Cincinnati and Cleveland will be fascinating to watch over the next few years.