Days after being rejected by the Chicago Bears when asking to request an interview Vic Fangio, the Cincinnati Bengals have a new defensive coordinator.
The Bengals plucked a different defensive play caller from the NFC North, hiring Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin to the same position. Paul Guenther, who had been Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator for the last four years under Marvin Lewis, has left to join Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders in the same role. Gruden will be introduced in a Tuesday press conference after securing a 10-year deal reportedly worth nearly $100 million.
Austin interviewed for the Lions open head coach position after the team fired Jim Caldwell. Detroit’s defense ranked second in yards and third in points in Austin’s first year back in 2014, but regressed in the last three years finishing in the bottom half of the league in yards and in the bottom third in scoring defense twice in that three-year stretch.
Austin’s move to Cincinnati comes days after Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported the New England Patriots were bracing for the departure of Matt Patricia, most likely to become the Lions’ next head coach. Patricia is the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, so it makes sense for Austin to move on before a new defensive leader comes along.
With the Bengals scooping up Austin and the Raiders set to bring along Guenther, two potential landing spots for Fangio have been filled. The Bears’ defensive coordinator will be a free agent at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday and a popular target for several teams if he doesn’t re-sign with Chicago.