Vic Fangio snubs 49ers for defensive coordinator, joins Dolphins

Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Vic Fangio might have been a top target for the 49ers to replace DeMeco Ryans as defensive coordinator, but the former is opting to go elsewhere.

So much for the San Francisco 49ers being able to land one of the bigger names on the market to replace soon-to-be Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans.

The Niners were tied to a number of potential defensive coordinators to replace Ryans, but few carried as much weight as former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, who had ties to San Francisco back in the era of former head coach Jim Harbaugh between 2011 and 2014.

Fangio originally seemed destined to join the Miami Dolphins under head coach Mike McDaniel this offseason, but a Jan. 30 report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mike Silver said that nothing official had been decided.

Apparently, it has now.

Vic Fangio won’t be 49ers’ next defensive coordinator, will join Dolphins instead

On Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Fangio would indeed head out to Miami to become part of McDaniel’s staff, ending any notion about the 49ers bringing aboard one of the more-respected defensive names in the league today:

This means the Niners still have that vacancy to fill with Ryans departing, and it remains unclear just how head coach Kyle Shanahan will go about doing so.

During Shanahan’s Wednesday presser, he told the media that he would consider both inside and outside options to replace Ryans.

Exactly how that potentially impacted Fangio’s decision is anyone’s guess.

Fangio has traditionally operated a 3-4 base defense, and for football novices, that means three defensive linemen with four linebackers, two outside and two inside. When Shanahan brought in now-New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh as defensive coordinator back in 2017, San Francisco installed a 4-3 base that has four linemen and three linebackers.

Related Story: DeMeco Ryans officially leaving Niners to become Texans head coach

Shanahan also stressed some continuity, in terms of both coaching assistants and players, and that potentially could have made Fangio want to seek employment elsewhere.

Especially if the 49ers wanted to stay in a 4-3 base.

Or, just as likely, the Dolphins offered more money. Either way, the Niners’ search to replace Fangio will continue.

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