Bryce Callahan has played for Vic Fangio in two cities. The veteran slot cornerback may have a chance to add a third chapter to this off-and-on partnership.
The Dolphins brought in Callahan for a visit Thursday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Callahan, who played with the Chargers last season, has played under Fangio in seven of his eight NFL seasons. And he is coming off a season spent with Fangio disciple Brandon Staley in Los Angeles.
The Chargers signed Callahan shortly after the draft last year, and despite an injury-plagued Broncos tenure, the veteran cover man mostly held up in L.A. After missing 28 games in three Broncos seasons, Callahan was on the field for 15 contests as a Charger. The Bolts have moved on this offseason, being set to plug Asante Samuel Jr. into the slot role Callahan, 31, played last year. But the now-Fangio-run Dolphins defense features more questions.
Fangio initially coached Callahan with the Bears, and despite suffering a season-ending foot injury in 2018, the former UDFA scored a three-year, $21MM deal from the Broncos in 2019. The Denver contract proved a slight misread, with Callahan suffering a setback that led to him missing all of the 2019 season. But for system knowhow, it is difficult to find an active defender more qualified to operate in Fangio’s scheme.
Jalen Ramsey‘s knee injury will change Fangio’s plans on defense. Staley and Raheem Morris used the All-Pro in the slot at points, and Fangio was planning to follow suit. Ramsey undergoing surgery that will sideline him for much of the regular season brought some familiar territory for Fangio, who frequently saw his top defenders go down in Denver. The Dolphins are still looking for some reinforcements.
Pro Football Focus viewed Callahan as a top-flight slot defender in 2018 and 2020, ranking him in the top 10 in each Fangio-coached season. Last season with the Bolts, PFF ranked Callahan 70th at the position. After allowing sub-50% completion rates in 2020 and ’21, Callahan saw that number rise north of 64% last year. QBs’ collective rating when targeting Callahan did go down from 2021, settling at 80.0.
The Dolphins still have boundary corner Xavien Howard leading this group, and second-year UDFA Kader Kohou offers an interesting slot option. The team used a second-round pick on South Carolina’s Cam Smith and still has former first-rounder Noah Igbinoghene as a slot option as well.