The clock is ticking to keep the relationship between the Chicago Bears and Vic Fangio going.
With a young, offensive-leaning head coach in tow after announcing the hire of Matt Nagy, the next step for the Bears is to keep their top-10 defense in tact.
The priority has shifted to retaining Vic Fangio on Nagy’s staff as the team’s defensive coordinator, tweets NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune adds the Bears hope to keep the popular defensive mastermind, but “that is not a done deal” just yet.
Fangio’s contract expires at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday and is expected to be a hot candidate for several positions. The Bears declined the Cincinnati Bengals’ request to interview Fangio over the weekend, while the Green Bay Packers seem set on waiting until Fangio officially becomes a free agent before approaching the 59-year-old coach for their open defensive coordinator position. Fangio is believed to be a “logical candidate” to replace Dom Capers, who was fired after the Packers’ season ended.
The Bears made Fangio their first interview for the head coaching position when it was open, which looks like a sure sign of respect from GM Ryan Pace to a highly regarded assistant who has already received significant interest from outside organizations. So while it might have sounded as if Pace was middling when he tried to give Fangio and John Fox shared credit for the defense’s meteoric rise since 2015, actions speak louder than words. Their actions (giving him the first head coach interview, while denying the Bengals’ interview request) show how much they like and respect Fangio, and ultimately, how much they want to keep their defensive coordinator from departing for another opportunity.
To be clear, Fangio’s return is far from a sure thing. But getting the head coach hire out of the way clears something major off the to-do list and makes the defensive coordinator the top priority.