Did Jonathan Gannon/Cardinals Tampering Saga Send Vic Fangio to Miami and Not Philadelphia?

    Vic Fangio did nothing Thursday to disabuse reporters of the notion that he easily could have been the DC of the Philadelphia Eagles and not the Miami Dolphins.

    MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In the four months since Vic Fangio became the Miami Dolphins‘ defensive coordinator, there’s been a ton of mystery about why Fangio took so long to formally accept the job.

    Dolphins fans were on pins and needles for more than two weeks between the time Fangio was said to have accepted the job and the time he actually took the job.

    Mystery Shrouds Vic Fangio’s Decision To Coach Miami Dolphins

    It’s still entirely unclear how, but the manner in which Jonathan Gannon improperly pursued the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach job while still serving as the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator had a number of ripple effects.

    The early, impermissible contact triggered a tampering investigation that took months to resolve.

    The teams ultimately decided to settle, with the Cardinals receiving draft capital compensation in the form of a pick swap in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

    “The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles have agreed on the settlement of an issue concerning an instance of impermissible contact by Arizona during its head coaching search this past January,” the teams announced in a joint statement on the first night of the draft.

    “The Cardinals self-reported to the National Football League that general manager Monti Ossenfort had a phone conversation with then-Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon in the days following the NFC Championship Game, a period during which contact is not permitted under the League’s Anti-Tampering Policy.”

    What we did not know at the time: The drama apparently convinced Fangio to commit fully to the Dolphins — leaving the Eagles to hire Sean Desai as Gannon’s replacement.

    That data point comes courtesy of ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who appeared on 97.5 The Fanatics’ “Jon Kincade Show” in May and said the following:

    “I think it impacted a lot of people’s lives. Vic Fangio, for example, probably would not have taken the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator job and would be the defensive coordinator in Philadelphia today if everything was on the up and up.

    “And so, it didn’t just impact the Cardinals and their job with Jonathan Gannon, it impacted others as well. I think everybody knows — in any line of work — if they’re on an expiring contract or they’re under consideration, they still have responsibilities to their employer to finish the job the right way. … In this particular case, I just think the Eagles weren’t comfortable with the information that they learned Jeffrey [Lurie] brought it up to Michael Bidwill, and this is where the organizations wound up.”

    Vic Fangio Meets With Miami Media

    Thursday was the first time Fangio met with South Florida reporters since that Schefter revelation. And while he didn’t shed any light on his thinking at the time, he didn’t exactly shoot the report down, either.

    “That’s possible,” Fangio said, “but I will neither confirm nor deny.”

    MORE: Dolphins’ Butch Barry Talks Liam Eichenberg, Austin Jackson, and His Awkward Exit From Denver

    The Dolphins are, of course, thrilled with how things panned out. They landed one of the most innovative defensive minds of this generation to lead a talented group that underachieved in 2022.

    But if Fangio has his way, the Dolphins are not done adding to that talent.

    “We have some really good talent at some places,” he said. “In other places, we’ve got to find the talent. I think it’s a good mix right now. Our good players have got to play really good for us to be good, and we’ve got to find the other guys to fill in that play good in spite of their lack of playing time and experience.”

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    Adam Beasley is Pro Football Network’s Director of Original Content and Brand Development. You can read all of Adam’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @AdamHBeasley.

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