The idea that Marvin Lewis would not be the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 wasn’t a foreign one to ownership inside 1 Paul Brown Stadium. You don’t let a head coach and his entire coaching staff head into a season in the final year of their deals without a “list.”

The Bengals have theirs.

The club likes to keep things tight to the vest, but the coaching waters around the franchise have been churning all year. The national report back on Nov. 17 that Lewis decided to move on in 2018 created whitecaps. Despite Lewis’ consistent denial he had made a decision on his future, national outlets like ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo! have proceeded to call the Bengals job open.

If the search for the 10th head coach in franchise history indeed begins this week, here is the BX list of potential candidates, culled from sources that have a pulse on both inside PBS and around the league:
Internal candidates

Paul Guenther, defensive coordinator

Guenther has been with the Bengals for 13 years and is in his fourth as defensive coordinator. He has experience on the offensive side of the ball in his early days with Washington, has coached special teams and is the latest of Lewis’ coordinators to find himself on the radar within the league. He was blocked by the Bengals from heading to Washington to start this season and there is a strong feeling that should he not be the next Bengals head coach he will be elsewhere in 2018.