The first day of the Matt Nagy Era in Chicago offered some clarity regarding the team’s situation with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but no clear-cut answers just yet.
We know the Bears would like to bring Fangio back for a fourth season as the team’s DC. We also know Nagy already spoke with Fangio and that GM Ryan Pace was in contact with him. Additionally, Nagy confirmed Fangio is officially being considered for the position. As if there was any doubt.
Biggs believes money and respect are the two deciding factors regarding Fangio’s future.
If it turns out that cash rules, the Bears have more than a puncher’s chance at retaining their defensive coordinator. Biggs reports it is believed that Fangio made more than $2 million in 2017 and might have been the second-highest-paid coordinator in the NFL — something Hub Arkush made reference to during his Tuesday afternoon visit with the Bernstein and Goff Show on WSCR-AM 670. If the Bears have to go a little above and beyond to show their love, it would be a wise investment.
It would be revealing to be a fly on the wall in Fangio’s room when he learned Matt Nagy was going to be the Bears’ next coach. It’s an all-too-familiar feeling for Fangio, who interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers head coach job before being passed over for Jim Tomsula. Biggs reports the Bears assured Fangio that his interview was more than a courtesy and attempt to keep him interested in returning under a different head coach. Naturally, that was one of Fangio’s burning questions as he entered the interview process according to Biggs.
So what happens if Fangio decides to leave the Bears behind?
Nagy could pluck Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards, who earned the second interview from Pace and the Bears. Like Fangio (and Gus Bradley, whose rumored candidacy (originally reported by the Tribune) we discussed earlier), Edwards will be a free agent whenever Minnesota’s season ends. Edwards could get some additional head coach interviews, but it’s possible he moves on to a situation that gives him an opportunity to be a play caller — something Mike Zimmer has full control of as the team’s head coach. From there, Edwards could re-emerge as a head-coaching candidate for teams who might have been hesitant to hire a coach who didn’t have those responsibilities.
Biggs also puts Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Kris Richard on the radar as a potential candidate to replace Fangio. Richard seems set in Seattle, but he could move on if Bradley returns to his roots to work under Pete Carroll. The 38-year-old assistant has worked for Carroll since 2008, dating back to his time in college at USC. Richard has seven years of NFL coaching experience, with three years coaching defensive backs that came before his three-year stint as the team’s defensive coordinator.
The good news is that there are viable options who will be available. So it’s not as if it’s Fangio or bust for Nagy and the Bears. But it would certainly be in the team’s best interest to maintain some stability on the most productive side of the ball.