Chicago Bears sign Pernell McPhee (five years, $39 million)
Aside from having one of the best names in football, Pernell McPhee is an absolute stud who is just beginning to tap into his potential. At 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, the outside linebacker/defensive end is emerging as one of the top pure pass rushers in the NFL.
With the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, McPhee played behind Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil but still managed to rack up 7.5 sacks, 64 quarterback pressures and 24 quarterback hits. While he’s not someone the general public knows much about, Pro Football Focus rated him as the league’s No. 2 outside linebacker behind only Justin Houston.
Since the end of the 2012 season, the Bears have lost what used to be the heart and soul of their defense. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman are all gone and new head coach John Fox is looking for a new identity on that side of the ball. McPhee could be the start of a turnaround there, and he signed for a very affordable $16 million in guaranteed money.
The Bears ranked 30th in total defense in 2014 and were also 30th against the pass. Opposing quarterbacks salivated at the thought of facing Chicago, as they averaged a quarterback rating of 101.7 against the Bears. With McPhee in the defensive front, opposing signal-callers won’t be able to sit back and be anywhere close to comfortable next season.