Bengals HC Marvin Lewis mentioned that he doesn’t see his contract status as a distraction for the team.
“It makes no difference,” Lewis said, via Bengals.com. “The players don’t give a (bleep) about my contract.”
Lewis mentioned that he has spoken to team president Mike Brown regarding an extension and believes the situation is likely to play out much like it did a few years when they reached an agreement before the start of training camp.
Interestingly enough, Lewis also mentioned that he’s optimistic that they will be able to reach an agreement on a long-term deal with DE Michael Johnson before the start of free agency.
All indications thus far have seemed to point to Johnson playing elsewhere in 2014, but the Bengals do have cap space to work with, so I guess it’s at least a remote possibility that he could be back.
We have Johnson listed as the No. 8 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.
Lewis also mentioned that veteran OL Andrew Whitworth is willing to play a position other than left tackle next season “if it’s best for the team.”
Clearly, the Bengals would like to keep their young LT Anthony Collins from signing with a new team in the next few weeks, so moving Whitworth inside seems like plausible option for them to consider.
Should the Bengals allow Johnson to depart in free agency, it would make sense for them to do whatever it takes to lock up Collins for the foreseeable future.
We have Collins listed as the No. 38 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.