Bengals will look to retain Zimmer

The Cincinnati Bengals will open contract talks with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer next week in an effort to retain him. Zimmer’s contract is set to expire and a source with knowledge of the situation said the Bengals want to try to persuade the sought-after coach from taking a job elsewhere.

According to a source, the Washington Redskins are interested in hiring Zimmer to join new coach Mike Shanahan‘s staff as defensive coordinator. If it becomes a bidding war, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has shown the willingness to pay what is needed. The Bengals tend not to spend excessively.

Zimmer is revered in Cincinnati for building the defense into one of the better units in the NFL in his two seasons there. He has received much of the credit for the Bengals’ ascension to AFC North champions and for their playoff berth this season. He also is close with head coach Marvin Lewis.

That does not mean he would not leave for a better opportunity.

Zimmer, a longtime assistant in Dallas and former defensive coordinator with the Falcons, remains a head coaching candidate, but that option might not present itself because of the limited number of vacancies and possible openings this offseason.

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