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Bears to sign Pernell McPhee to five-year deal

The Bears were in hibernation during a wild NFL weekend, but Chicago made a splash on Tuesday.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the team will sign free-agent outside linebacker Pernell McPhee to a five-year contract worth almost $40 million, per a source informed of the deal.

Chalk it up as a quality signing for a Bears front office expected to use this offseason to focus on rebuilding their shattered defense. McPhee will help right away after the former Ravens pass-rusher emerged as one of last season's most-pleasant surprises.

In Baltimore, McPhee operated as a versatile chess piece with the requisite skill set to rush from the edge, put his hand in the dirt and even play a little defensive tackle. Ranking behind only Justin Houston among last year's 3-4 outside 'backers, per Pro Football Focus, McPhee piled up 7.5 sacks en route to 17 total takedowns during his fourth season with the Ravens.

More than a few Ravens role players have been overpaid as marginal starters elsewhere, but the sense is that McPhee -- who has never topped 616 snaps in a season -- is just entering the prime of his career.

Joining a Bears squad already laced with defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen, McPhee projects as a multi-position weapon who can line up all over the field in Vic Fangio's scheme. It's no secret what the former 49ers coordinator did with another matchup nightmare in Aldon Smith.

For the second year in a row, Chicago is making defense a free-agent priority, a need they can't ignore after finishing as the third-worst unit in the NFL two seasons running.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast analyzes early free agency news, including Ndamukong Suh to Miami, Devin McCourty's new deal and much more. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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