Now that the Vic Fangio Derby is over, the race to replace him is already on and the rush to land a top candidate is under way.
On Tuesday evening, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported former New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles was going to sign on as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator. But hold your horses because pen hasn’t been put to paper just yet.
In fact, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears have an interest in hiring Bowles as their defensive coordinator. A source tells Biggs that Bowles and Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy have spoken “multiple times” and that it will come down to choosing between the Bears and Bucs. ESPN’s Adam Schefter chimes in, adding that nothing is signed with the Buccaneers and no commitment has been made in Tampa. Game on, folks.
A move to Chicago would put him on Matt Nagy’s staff and bring together two strong minds who have a friendly history. As we noted back when the Bears played the Jets in October, Nagy and Bowles coached together in Philadelphia when Bowles was the Eagles Secondary Coach/Interim Defensive Coordinator and Nagy was an Offensive Quality Control Coach. The connection goes back further than that, as Nagy’s father was an assistant coach on Bowles’ high school team, which won a state championship in 1980.
To further drive home the Bears-related connections, Bowles wanted Nagy to run his offense but was denied the opportunity by Andy Reid (who promoted Nagy to be his OC after Doug Pederson left to coach the Eagles). Oh, and Bears GM Ryan Pace has a history with Bowles, too. Remember, Bowles was the first person Pace interviewed for the Bears’ head coaching vacancy in 2015 and literally spoke with him about the position during his first day on the gig.
Of course, Bowles’ ties to Tampa Bay aren’t to be taken lightly either. A move to become the Buccaneers’ DC would reunite him with Bruce Arians, who was just hired to take over in Tampa Bay. The two worked together in Arizona when Arians was the head coach and Bowles was running the defense. It would only make sense if Bowles wanted to reconnect with a coach who he has had success with in the past.
Both jobs provide a unique opportunity for Bowles, so I can see where it would be difficult to make a decision. But the Bears can offer up the opportunity to coach All-Pros Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson, as well as a Pro Bowler such as Akiem Hicks, and Pro Bowl alternates including Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith. That might be something that could be too good to pass up.
And with that, Obsessive Defensive Coordinator Watch is officially under way.