Redskins up offer, Lewis accepts

Marvin Lewis changed his mind. And the Redskins are thrilled he did. Less than a day after saying he would remain in Baltimore, Lewis has agreed to become Washington's next defensive coordinator--for a princely sum.

Lewis will receive approximately $1 million a season, and perhaps more with incentives, that makes him the NFL's highest paid coordinator. By far.

''I'm disappointed that whomever misled us that Marvin was staying did this to the Ravens," Ravens owner Art Modell said in a statement the Ravens issued Sunday evening. "Sometimes money talks more than words and this was an opportunity Marvin felt he had to take." Lewis solidifies a big-name coaching staff, headed by Steve Spurrier. Lewis will have all power over the defense, which he also had in Baltimore.

Lewis appeared set to return to the Ravens, after a near-deal with Tampa Bay to become its head coach fell apart. He flirted with the idea of joining the Redskins on Friday.

But that appeared dead on Saturday.

"I'm tired of putting my family through this," Lewis told The Baltimore Sun on Saturday. "[Ravens owner] Art Modell, [senior vice president of football operations] Ozzie Newsome, right straight down the line through the organization have been loyal to me. I'm at peace with this decision.

"Everyone looks at it that if I teamed with Steve Spurrier, they would put people in the seats," Lewis said. "But I'm familiar with this organization, and theirs is unknown."

Lewis has guided one of the NFL's best defenses for the past several years. Last season, Baltimore ranked among the best defenses of all-time, fueling speculation that Lewis soon would be a head coach.

But various reasons prevented that from happening, including the Ravens' Super Bowl success a year ago.

That's just fine with Washington. In Lewis, they get a coach popular with his players. While he had plenty of talent in Baltimore, he also prodded improved performances out of players such as tackle Sam Adams and end Michael McCrary. But the Ravens are $20.4 million over the salary cap and could lose as many as six defensive starters. In Washington, Lewis gets the NFL's No. 10-rated defense, one with building blocks such as linebacker LaVar Arrington and corners Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot.

However, he also has two aging ends in Marco Coleman and Bruce Smith, both of whom will count for approximately $5.4 million against the cap. Most likely one will be gone--or both will have their salaries restructured. Regardless, neither matched their output from the previous season.

Baltimore will replace Lewis with former Redskins coordinator Mike Nolan, who would come cheaper.

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