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Twitter mailbag: Will Pernell McPhee return by Bears’ Week 1?

Linebacker Pernell McPhee hasn't played this preseason. (AP)

The Sun-Times’ experts can answer your Bears questions all week on Twitter. Here’s a sampling of Monday’s queries sent to @patrickfinley, who responds with more than 140 characters:

A pregame workout in Foxborough, Mass., was somewhat encouraging for the outside linebacker, who has been on the physically unable to perform list all preseason with knee issues.

While the Bears won’t rush him back this preseason — they’re focused on Week 1 — he’ll need more than a few days of practice to be in football shape. It’ll be close.

Eddie Royal, with a caveat: the receiver was a favorite to stick because the Bears owe him $4.5 million this year whether or not he’s on the roster. After missing seven games last year, Royal hasn’t been able to do much this month. He went into concussion protocol Aug. 1 and didn’t return until Saturday, only to be limited in practice for two days.

The Bears are deep at the position beyond Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White. Receivers coach Curtis Johnson said he loves Marc Mariani. Josh Bellamy’s special teams skills should earn him a spot. The team drafted Daniel Braverman in the seventh round and doesn’t figure to give up on him. That’s five receivers right there.

Coach John Fox said it was “kinda getting worse and worse,” and he didn’t want to keep “doing the same old stuff.” Surgery is never the first option. Still, one would understand Fuller’s frustration — having arthroscopic surgery even two weeks earlier would have made his return in time for the opener far more of a sure thing.

The Bears will need to find (draft?) a long-term answer at quarterback in the next year or two. Patriots overlord Bill Belichick has already struck two deals with Ryan Pace — for Martellus Bennett and Jon Bostic — and said last week that the Bears are “not afraid to make a trade or talk personnel.”

Two issues with your theory: Will Jay Cutler play for the Bears longer than Tom Brady does with the Patriots? And doesn’t the list of Patriots backups that flame out when they go elsewhere scare you?

It’s no fait accompli — even if you believe, as I do, the Bears are woefully thin at cornerback. On Aug. 30, teams must whittle their rosters from 90 to 75. That’s 480 extra bodies on the street. On Sept. 3, another 704 players will be cut. Though the Bears are interested in exploring an upgrade in cornerback depth, they’d find a better free agent after those dates than they would today. Remember: if a player is available now, it’s for a reason.