Chicago Bears Reportedly Sign DE Ray McDonald
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen the Bears have reportedly reunited defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with DE Ray McDonald, who started at left defensive end for the Niners the last four seasons. McDonald was released by the 49ers in December after multiple off-field incidents including suspicion of domestic violence against his fiance and being named as a suspect in a separate sexual assault investigation. No charges were filed in either case, but the sexual assault case is still open. With the NFL cracking down on off-field incidents, specifically domestic violence, it is a risky signing for the Bears.
If anyone is familiar with McDonald’s character it should be Fangio who coached him for the last four years in San Fran. The signing definitely fills a need as I mentioned in my post about Jarvis Jenkins, the Bears are very thin on the defensive front in their new 3-4 scheme. McDonald played very well under Fangio with four straight seasons of positive grades from Pro Football Focus, including the #2 overall grade for 3-4 DEs in 2011 (23.6) and the 12th best grade in the league last season (15.2).
McDonald (30 years old | 6’3 | 276) is a former 3rd round pick out of Florida in 2007, and should be the favorite to start for the Bears at left end as long as there are no further off-field legal issues. The LE position in Fangio’s hybrid scheme is somewhat similar to a 3-tech DT in the Bears old scheme and McDonald will be tasked with generating interior pressure on the QB. McDonald has averaged roughly 3.5 sacks per season under Fangio and had 32 QB hurries in 14 games last season. The financial terms of the deal haven’t been released yet, but due to McDonald’s off-field red flags I’m predicting a team friendly deal for the Bears.