Ryan Pace’s first big signing as the general manager of the Chicago Bears was edge rusher Pernell McPhee. He had been criminally underused with the Baltimore Ravens, and was just coming off of a 7.5-sack season.
That move ended up working out incredibly well for the Bears.
McPhee has been a huge factor on and off of the field. He has put up 10 sacks in 23 games, as well as 69 total tackles. He has been named a captain in his two seasons with the team, and will likely hold that honor again this year. Plus, Pro Football Focus ranked McPhee as the edge rusher with the highest pressure percentage in the NFC North.
The top pass rusher on each team in the NFC North last year pic.twitter.com/LovoPwQNS8— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 24, 2017
As much as a lot of us here at Windy City Gridiron don’t like their statistics, we can certainly appreciate this one.
However, McPhee is coming off of an injury-plagued season. He only played in nine games last year due to a knee injury. Knee injuries also affected him in 2015, as he was on the injury list with one for 11 weeks.
He recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, which is the same surgery that cornerback Kyle Fuller had last preseason. As Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times pointed out in the linked article, though, Bears head coach John Fox pointed out that McPhee's surgery was different from Fuller's.
The Mississippi State alum has been a dominant force for Chicago, so Bears fans can only hope that he will recover in time for Week 1.
Age: 28 years old
Experience: Seven years
Weight: 255 pounds (approximately)
Contract and salary cap
According to Spotrac, McPhee is in the third year of a five-year, $38,750,000 deal. He will be making a base salary of $6,950,000 this year, with $700,000 in bonuses. He will have a cap hit of $7,825,000 this season, and he has a dead cap of $1,500,000.
Reason for improvement in 2017
McPhee's performance this year will rely heavily on his ability to stay healthy. If he can make it through the season with little in the way of injury, then he could possibly come close to a double-digit sack season. He is one of the better edge rushers in the league, and having Leonard Floyd alongside him will help take some pressure off of him.
The Bears do have solid depth at the outside linebacker position, but McPhee is arguably the best of the bunch. He likely won’t be overthrown in the starting lineup any time soon.
Plus, he stated back in April that he lost about 25 pounds over the offseason in an attempt to become more explosive off the edge. If he can prove that he kept his powerful style of play while managing to become faster, then the 2017 season could be his best yet.
Reason for regression in 2017
As stated earlier, injuries will likely make or break McPhee's season. He has had chronic knee issues for the past two years, so it may be tough for him to last the whole year. Kyle Fuller missed an entire season after undergoing the same surgery that McPhee had on Friday. While McPhee's surgery isn't as serious - as mentioned before - it should still cause a bit of concern.
Final roster odds
McPhee is going to make the 53-man roster.