According to The Denver Post and FOX Sports Jay Glazer :John Fox has officially reached agreement on a four-year contract to become the Chicago Bears’ new head coach, according to an NFL source.
Fox’s new deal with the Bears will help the Broncos financially as it will offset — if not all but cancel out — the remaining two years and approximately $11 million he had left on his contract in Denver. Fox and the Broncos mutually agreed to part ways on Monday.
The hire may raise eyebrows in Denver. Fox, three weeks shy of his 60th birthday, had been the Broncos’ head coach the previous four seasons, winning four AFC West Division titles, reaching the second round of the NFL playoffs all four years and posting a regular-season record of 46-18.
However, on the morning of the Broncos’ second-round playoff game last Sunday against Indianapolis, Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer, a close friend of Fox’s, speculated that if the Broncos lost to the Colts, Fox might become available and would immediately go to the top of many team’s head coach candidates’ list.
He clearly went to the top of the Bears’ list.
On Monday, Fox and Broncos general manager John Elway met for an hour and then announced he was leaving. Meanwhile, Fox told several people he had a strong chance to became the Bears’ head coach.
His connections with the Bears were both through Ernie Accorsi and the New Orleans Saints. When Elway got his first chance to run the Broncos’ football operations in January 2011, he said the person who mentored him most about his new job was Accorsi, a former GM of the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants.
Elway’s first coaching hire? Fox, who was Accorsi’s defensive coordinator from 1997-2001. During that same period, Sean Payton was the Giants’ offensive coordinator. And Glazer was a New York TV reporter who covered the Giants.
Payton became the Saints’ head coach in 2006. Three weeks ago, the Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman and hired Accorsi to serve as a consultant for their new GM and coach search. The Bears hired Ryan Pace as their general manager last week. Pace rose through the Saints’ personnel ranks until he became their director of player of player personnel.
Between Accorsi, Pace, Payton and Glazer, Fox seemingly had the Bears’ job lined up from the moment after the Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts 24-13.
This is the second time Accorsi has mentored a new GM through a head coaching search and wound up hiring Fox.
Connections aside, Fox does seem to be a good fit for the Bears whose top two stars, former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall, have the type of controversial personalities that have at times offset their tremendous talent.
Fox has a down-to-earth, folksy coaching staff that usually appeals to players.
FOX Sports Jay Glazer: The Chicago Bears agreed with John Fox to fill their head-coaching vacancy, FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported. The agreement is a four-year deal, per Glazer
Fox spent the past four years as the Broncos head coach (46-18, .719), guiding them to four consecutive playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance. But after Denver was stunned by the Indianapolis Colts last weekend in their divisional playoff game at home, the team and Fox mutually agreed to part ways.
Fox was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers from 2002-10 (73-71, .507), helping them reach the Super Bowl during the 2003 season.
The Bears hired first-year general manager Ryan Pace last week and he led a furious search for a new head coach. Pace, who was the director of personnel with the Saints, has obvious ties to Sean Payton, who is a big supporter of Fox.
While Fox consistently built Super Bowl contenders during his time in Denver, VP of football operations John Elway decided it was time to part ways.
The Bears had a thorough search, interviewing former Bills coach Doug Marrone, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
What’s next for Fox is he must assemble his staff. While Jack Del Rio was hired in Oakland earlier this week, the two AFC West teams could be dueling for assistant coaches.
The Bears are expected to try to interview Mike Mularkey as offensive coordinator, a source told FOX Sports 1’s NFL insider Mike Garafolo.
Fox’s number one priority is figuring out the future of quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, who signed a seven-year, $127 million deal last offseason, had a woeful season in which he led the league in turnovers. Naturally, Marc Trestman and the entire front office were relieved of their duties.
Another challenge is rebuilding a defense that finished in the basement in nearly every major defensive category.
With a roster full of talent, Fox must develop the talent to have them reach their full potential.
The Denver Post first reported the story