OLB PER­NELL MCPHEE

Chicago Sun-Times - - BEARS BEAT -

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.

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