Top Coaching Candidate Emerges If Bears Decide to Replace Matt Nagy: Report

Bears Pat Fitzgerald next coach

Getty Head coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats and HC Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans.

The Matt Nagy era may be about to come to an end in Chicago according to the latest report by NFL insider Jason La Canfora. Per CBS Sports’ La Canfora, “Numerous league sources have indicated it is far more likely than not” that the Bears will choose to move on from Nagy, who was the NFL’s Coach of the Year in 2018 before going 13-14 since.

La Canfora also reported that his sources have told him the Bears have a top coaching candidate in mind: current Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.

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La Canfora on Situation at Halas Hall: ‘Frustration is Mounting’

According to La Canfora, tensions are rising at Halas Hall with the Bears losing five straight after starting out 5-1:

“Frustration is mounting within ownership about the performance of coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace, sources said, and Fitzgerald has long had the attention of ownership. Northwestern is having another excellent season and while the former Wildcat player has long asserted he hoped to coach in Evanston for life, he did grant the Packers an audience about their head coaching job two years ago before quickly withdrawing, and the Bears have long been identified by those close to him as the one NFL job he might seriously entertain at the appropriate time.”

La Canfora’s point about the Packers is an interesting one. Prior to hiring Matt LaFleur in 2019, Green Bay reportedly considered Fitzgerald to be a strong candidate for its head coaching vacancy, but the Northwestern head coach declined the invitation.

Fitzgerald has spent the last 15 seasons as head coach at Northwestern, where he has amassed a 104-80 record. He was the Coach of the Year in the Big Ten in 2018, and he has nine career bowl appearances, with four wins in those games.

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Fitzgerald Has Also Reportedly Shown Interest in Bears Head Coaching Job…

Just a few weeks ago, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Chicago may be the only NFL team the Illinois-based Fitzgerald would be interested in coaching:

“In Fitzgerald’s case,” Breer wrote, “I’ve heard, at least short term, that the Bears would probably be the only team he’d consider.”

There could be another factor at play in terms of personal relationships, as well. Per La Canfora, “Billionaire Pat Ryan, who owns 10 percent of the Bears and is a Northwestern alumn, is a massive proponent of Fitzgerald’s and maintains a very strong relationship with the coach, sources said.” La Canfora also noted that “It is impossible to imagine a Bears coaching search at this point that would include a concerted effort to recruit Fitzgerald. Whether that would be enough to entice him remains to be seen, and numerous teams have attempted to lure him to the pros in the past, but none have the proximity and hometown ties that Chicago offers.”

The Bears have five games left in the regular season against mostly lackluster opponents (Detroit, Jacksonville and Houston are all on the schedule in coming weeks). If Nagy can’t muster a solid outing against them — or perhaps even if he can — it’s looking more and more like his time in the Windy City may be coming to an end.

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