Bears release OLB Pernell McPhee and safety Quintin Demps

SHARE Bears release OLB Pernell McPhee and safety Quintin Demps
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Pernell McPhee was cut Monday. (Getty Images)

As fans wait breathlessly for the Bears’ free-agent foray next month, the team provided a reminder of the pitfalls of such spending Monday, when it released outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

The Bears also cut safety Quintin Demps less than a year after giving him a three-year, $13.5 million free-agent deal with $5 million in guarantees.

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The first big signing of general manager Ryan Pace’s career — five years at $38.75 million, with $15.5 million guaranteed — McPhee brought the intangibles the Bears desired but never matched the on-field performance he flashed with the Ravens.

He had five sacks in the first half of 2015 before injuring his knee and was never quite the same. In his last two seasons, McPhee, 29, started only five games and appeared in 22 of 32. He started 2016 and 2017 on the physically unable-to-perform list with injuries to different knees. In 2016, he wasn’t able to return until Game 7. A shoulder injury moved McPhee to injured reserve with two games left last year.

He had four sacks in each of the last two seasons and leaves the Bears with 14. He had 7½ in his last season with the Ravens.

The Bears admired McPhee’s presence in the locker room, where he helped mentor 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd, but couldn’t justify paying $7.2 million to someone who was likely limited to part-time duty. McPhee played 36 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps last season and 25 percent in 2016. The Bears will seek an edge rusher to play opposite Floyd in 2018, though Willie Young remains on the roster.

The Bears will save $7.075 million in cap space with McPhee gone and $3.26 million with Demps departed. That gives them more than $50 million in cap room, with more cuts — quarterback Mike Glennon is the most obvious — to come.

Demps, 32, a defensive captain last year, broke his forearm in his third game and was ably replaced by Adrian Amos, who is eight years his junior. He was due a $500,000 roster bonus March 18.

The Bears cut guard Josh Sitton and inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman last week.

Howard guarantees playoffs

Speaking on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Monday, running back Jordan Howard promised a postseason berth.

“The Bears are definitely going to have a winning season,” he said. “We’re going to get to the playoffs. So I guarantee we get to the playoffs.”

Howard is intrigued by the Bears’ new coaching staff. Earlier this month, he called former coordinator Dowell Loggains’ offense bland.

“We were pretty vanilla,” Howard said then. “A lot of times people knew what we were doing.”

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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