The Baltimore Sun reports that the Bears have reached a 5-year, $40 million deal with free-agent OLB Pernell McPhee. The former Raven never reached full starting status in Baltimore but twice reached 6 sacks over his 4 seasons as a situational player, including a career-high 7.5 in 2014. He'll play primarily OLB in Chicago's 3-4 base defense but has the versatility to line up in many spots. The Bears -- under a different coaching staff and GM -- signed DEs Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young in free agency just last year to improve the edge rush. But Houston suffered an ACL tear, Young suffered an Achilles' tear and Allen will turn 33 in April. All appear likely to remain on the 2015 roster, with Allen's $12.5 million cap number fully guaranteed. McPhee carries the most IDP upside in the group, though Houston could become a sleeper if he still carries the DL designation.
Bears HC John Fox confirmed Wednesday from the Scouting Combine that his defense will move to a 3-4 base alignment in 2015. Fox acknowledged that the label often doesn't make a huge difference for the team, which can play with its actual alignments and packages. But it's a bigger deal for IDP owners, who might see a player such as Jared Allen suddenly become a LB after years as a DE. That'll probably be the biggest change. Fox said Wednesday that Willie Young and Lamarr Houston also figure to play OLB, though we'll be a bit surprised if Houston winds up there. When Houston last played in a 3-4 defense in Oakland, he performed well as a DE. And at 6'3, 300 pounds, he certainly seems to be built much better for that spot. Chicago, of course, has plenty of work ahead this offseason to turn around a D that ranked among the league's worst in 2015. We'll see how all the pieces sort out come minicamp and training camp time.
Bears DE Willie Young left Sunday's loss to the Lions early with an injury to his left Achilles' tendon. We'll likely get more info on the severity come Monday. Young entered the game with a career-high 10 sacks this season, but he cooled way off after a torrid start for IDP owners. We'll see how Chicago's DE situation plays out in the offseason, with Lamarr Houston rehabbing a torn ACL and Jared Allen turning 33 in April.
The Bears confirmed Monday that DE Lamarr Houston is done for the season after rupturing his right ACL during a sack celebration in Sunday's loss at New England. GM Phil Emery told reporters that Houston faces a 6-8 month recovery, which should at least leave him ready for the 2015 season. Houston endured a terrible statistical start to his 1st season in Chicago. His absence will only make it easier for the much more productive Willie Young to find playing time.
Bears DE Lamarr Houston suffered a knee injury in Sunday's loss at New England while celebrating a sack as his team trailed by 25. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported after the game that Houston will get an MRI on Monday and that the Bears "fear the worst." The sack was Houston's 1st of the season, which likely means that his absence won't affect many IDP fantasy football teams at this point.
The Bears signed former Raiders DE Lamarr Houston to a 5-year, $35 million deal Tuesday. Houston boasts just 16.5 career sacks through 4 seasons but has improved his pass-rushing each of the past 2 years. His final Oakland campaign included career highs in sacks (6), QB hits (16) and hurries (41). Houston figures to slide into the right DE spot vacated by Julius Peppers' release and carries fantasy upside into his age-27 season. Look for him to sit among the top 20 in our 2014 IDP rankings. His combo of pass-rush improvement and always-stellar run D helps the Bears' team defense as well.