The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway for the second season in a row. With 92 days left to go until the Bears season kicks off, we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 92, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.
McPhee has spent a lot of time on the sidelines during his career. In 2016 he found himself there again. At the end of July, he was placed on the PUP list following a knee scope. He remained there until late October when he was activated and made ready to play. McPhee saw his first game action against the Green Bay Packers, the same day he was activated. He stayed upright the rest of the season.
On the year, he registered 16 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble.
Following the end of the season, McPhee had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.
The future looks bright for McPhee if he can stay healthy. But that’s a big if. He hasn’t been able to play a full season since coming to the Bears in 2015. McPhee has told the media he has lost about 25 pounds which figures to make him quicker. That will not only help him get to the quarterback faster but losing that extra weight could help keep his ailing knee from bothering him so much.
The organization hopes that he will be able to stay healthy and help give the Bears what they need as a pass rusher in 2017. Chicago hopes that McPhee will join with second-year player Leonard Floyd to help develop a top pass rushing duo next season. If you have been keeping up with what the media is saying, there are those that feel McPhee and Floyd are ranked as two of the top outside linebackers in the NFL. Can McPhee live up to this lofty status or will he falter and fail because of injuries?
There is no doubt that McPhee has a lot of talent. If he is healthy, he is one of the best players in the league at outside linebacker. And the Bears need him to perform. Imagine a healthy McPhee and Floyd? They could help make Chicago’s pass defense one of the best in the NFL. McPhee could even make the Pro Bowl if he can stay off the trainer’s table.
Chicago needs McPhee to play as much as possible. In the past, due to injury, he has been on snap counts playing just a few snaps a game. Getting him in there more often will force the opponent to game plan around him. Added pressure on the quarterback means more mistakes, fewer big plays and ultimately, a better chance to win. The Bears need McPhee at 100% to make their defense work the way they want it to.
The Bears have quite a strong investment in McPhee as well. This year, he will make $7,825,000, so the Bears are tied to him for this season. So it’s not only his talent that is valuable but his cap dollars are also important to the organization.
Future with the Bears
It’s interesting to note that Chicago has an “out” clause in McPhee’s contract after 2017. If they let him go, they would only take a one million dollar cap hit. I think it’s safe to say that if McPhee ends up injured and ineffective this season, the Bears will let him go. But, if he manages to do well-producing sacks and keeping opposing quarterbacks off-balance, Chicago just might bring him back for at least one more season. At 28, he is not getting any younger and his best and healthier years may be behind him. But he does have something left and Chicago needs that “something.”