Marvin Lewis, Mike Zimmer outline how Bengals should handle this offseason

Former Cincinnati Bengals coaches Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer have some ideas as to how the team can navigate this critical offseason and keep the championship window as wide open as possible.

For Lewis and Zimmer, as captured by The 33rd Team, there are three keys:

  • Bolster the offensive line

  • Manipulate cap space to pay stars

  • Increase the pass-rush production

Easier said than done, but that’s the blueprint many have clamored for since before the season even ended.

Much of this offseason is likely about protecting and paying Joe Burrow. Protecting, by putting all spots that don’t belong to Ted Karras and Alex Cappa up for grabs and addressing the serious depth issue. That’s likely coming via a combination of free agency and the draft. Paying, by getting an extension done that could be team-friendly in the Patrick Mahomes-Chiefs sense via rolling guarantees that Mike Brown often mentions. Strategic cuts and restructures (big examples possibly include Joe Mixon and La’el Collins) will help smooth the cap out over the years and potentially extend Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson this offseason, too.

As for the pass-rush, Cincinnati can again use a combination of free agency and draft picks to make it work. Since the team had the luxury of a future-minded draft class last year with Dax Hill taking on Jessie Bates’ spot in 2023, they’re free to add to this problematic area.

The Bengals themselves have admitted they have moved from rebuild to sustain mode, which was always the goal — now it’s about the mentioned fine-tuning to keep the title window open as wide as possible.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire