Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio is expected to be a hot name on the coaching rumor mill this offseason.
A resurgent Bears defense has pushed Fangio back into the spotlight as one of the NFL’s top head-coaching candidates, one who is expected to get serious interest from teams who think a defensive-minded head coach could come up with answers to stopping some of the league’s most high-powered offenses. As an admirer of Fangio’s work, I’m not emotionally prepared to lose the best defensive mind to come through town since Lovie Smith was sent packing. And I can’t imagine the Bears are ready either. But for Fangio to stay, they’ll probably have to get creative to keep him from skipping town.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune believes the Bears have a shot at retaining their popular and successful defensive coordinator. In addition to Biggs’ stance that Fangio likes his place with the Bears, the players he coaches, and assistants he works with, there might also be value in Fangio loving the full authority to run the defense as he sees fit while under Head Coach Matt Nagy. It’s not something he had full autonomy to do coaching for fellow defensive wizard John Fox. And you can’t argue with the results.
And even though all that is fine and dandy, there’s one more thing the Bears might have to do in order to keep Fangio from leaving to go elsewhere:
“The Bears aren’t in the business of ripping up contracts for players or coaches but they might have to think outside the box if Fangio is weighing options in the next few weeks. If the Bears can pay to rebuild Halas Hall, they at least can make Fangio an offer that is hard to refuse. It wouldn’t be unprecedented – one of the reasons Josh McDaniels did a U-turn last offseason on his way to Indianapolis after the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss was because of a pay raise.”
Perhaps the Bears could sweeten the pot and ensure Fangio returns by making him the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the game. A raise and continued full control of the defense could be enticing enough for a coach who has seen through a rebuilt defense. And it’s not as if the Bears would have to go far to make this happen. Before re-signing with the Bears after a brief venture into free agency, Hub Arkush of 670 The Score made note that he had heard Fangio was the second-highest-paid defensive coordinator in football. No details regarding Fangio’s new deal have emerged, but it’s hard to imagine he took less money to stay in Chicago. With that as our baseline, this could be the move to make.
GM Ryan Pace has been aggressive and creative in building the 2018 NFC North champions. But to attain a level of sustained success, he’ll need to keep up that energy to retain one of the driving forces behind the team’s success. And based on the moves Pace has made to get to this point, I wouldn’t put it past him to make another one happen.