OLB PERNELL MCPHEE
The deal: Five years, $38.75 million total, $15.5 million guaranteed.
What happened: Pace hit a home run with McPhee, who was the Bears’ best player on defense in 2015. McPhee had 64 tackles (according to coach reviews), six sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 25 pressures. He missed two games because of a nagging knee injury, which required minor surgery after the season. McPhee’s come-get-some demeanor also changed the identity of the defense.
What it means for ’16: Signing players such as McPhee is the goal. He fit Pace’s ideal mold for free-agent signings. McPhee was 26 years old and didn’t demand a hefty contract. Pace thought he would excel with more playing time, and that’s exactly what happened. He wasn’t a big-name signing, but he became one through his play. There was risk involved in the move. McPhee had started only six games in four seasons with the Ravens, who rarely let their best players leave. In the end, the Bears didn’t overpay and added a significant contributor. The big question is whether Pace can do it again this year.