Whether they want to admit it or not, the Bears are in the middle of a rebuilding process. While most of their new talent will need to come through the draft, free agent signings can help turn things around.
The new front office has been able to bring in at least one player who is doing his share, and more, to help the Bears dig out of their hole. Pernell McPhee has been the most impactful player on the Bears defense through the first seven weeks of the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, McPhee isn’t just the most important free agent signing for the Bears, he’s been the best signing in all of the NFL. PFF ranked the top ten best free agent signings so far this season, and McPhee topped the list.
From Pro Football Focus:
The Bears are in the middle of a rebuilding effort, while at the same time staying competitive in almostevery game. Much of this dynamic can be attributed to McPhee. While he didn’t come cheaply, he hastruly been an elite edge rusher, leading 3-4 OLBs in pass rush productivity. McPhee is tied forthird amongst 3-4 OLB in QB hits (seven), fourth in QB hurries (27), and has added an interception.
McPhee is at or near the top of every Bears defensive stat so far this season, with the second most solo tackles and the most sacks, with five so far. He also has an interception on the season.
Making McPhee’s play that much more important for the Bears is the contract they signed him to. This isn’t a one-year reclamation project, McPhee signed a five year deal. That means the Bears coaching staff will be able to build around the outside linebacker as they find players to fit the system.
McPhee is only in his fifth year in the NFL, spending his first four seasons with Baltimore.
The Bears defense, while still struggling, has shown signs of being able to turn things around. In their two wins, the defense has held their opponent to 20 points or less.