Da three Bears of Christmas


Alexander Aghayere

Halftime from the Sideline

By Copy Chief

On the second day of free agency, my Bears brought to me: One Pernell McPhee, one Eddie Royal and one safety.

The Bears may not have been part of Ndamukong Suh’s record-breaking $114 million deal, and they may not have picked up former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray—the NFL’s leading rusher last season—but at least they did something.

Along with announcing that Jay Cutler will be the Bears’ starting quarterback in the upcoming season, the Bears signed three new players. McPhee, an outside linebacker, signed on for the next five years, and receiver Royal and safety Antrel Rolle signed on for three years each.

McPhee, who previously played for the Baltimore Ravens, is still in his prime at 26 years old, and four years of experience in the league including a year on a championship team should not go unnoticed.

“I’m violent, and that’s all you need, to be violent,” he said in a March 11 Chicago Tribune Report.

His five-year, $40 million contract—with $16 million guaranteed—is roughly a third of Suh’s. Suh can buy 45.6 million Big Macs through the two for $5 special without taxes—enough to feed a continent. Meanwhile, the Bears spent more modestly. McPhee could only buy 16 million Big Macs with the same deal—enough to feed only a lesser continent. But he’s violent. No wonder he gets paid the big bucks.

In Royal’s case, he is reuniting with Cutler. The former Denver Broncos combo spent the 2008 season together, and Royal had 5 touchdowns that season and averaged 65.3 receiving yards per game. That’s the third-highest amount of touchdowns he’s caught in a single season and the best yards-per-game average he has had in a season. Although the numbers are not outstanding, they show that the two can work together and that Royal has potential to reach new heights. At almost 29 years old, he’s still in his prime, too.

With the natural development that comes with playing in the league and Cutler’s near inability to stop throwing to receivers even when running back Matt Forte is the smarter option, the two can make a powerful offensive force under offensive coordinator Adam Gase and head coach John Fox.

Rolle’s $11.25 million contract with $5 million guaranteed is relatively cheap for a three-time Pro Bowler. But at 32, the decision leaves fans wondering why the Bears would sign a three-year deal with an older veteran when given the opportunity to rebuild with youth. Regardless, 10 years in the league is a surplus of experience that should translate to mentoring younger players in a position that the team hasn’t adequately filled in years.

Following the momentum of wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s trade, the Bears have made a move in a positive direction. With new players, the team may be in a position to win at least half of their games—even with Cutler remaining a starter.