The Chicago Bears’ quest to clear cap space continued on Monday as the team announced it was releasing outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and safety Quintin Demps.
By parting ways with McPhee and Demps, the Bears cleared more than $10.3 million in salary cap savings while accumulating around just $1.67 million in dead money. Tack on the cap savings from releasing linebacker Jerrell Freeman and not picking up the option on Josh Sitton’s deal, and the Bears have cleared an estimate $21.6 million before the start of free agency. Not bad.
Chicago entered the offseason with a little more than $41 million in cap space, but a flurry of offseason moves has already bumped that figure toward $62 million. That number will continue to grow as it cuts some of its higher-priced talent that hasn’t played up to its potential.
McPhee was the first free-agent splash for GM Ryan Pace, who saw an opportunity to give a talented edge defender with upside an extended opportunity as more than a situational pass-rusher. It looked good for McPhee early when he racked up five sacks in his first seven games. But in 31 games since, McPhee was able to record just nine sacks.
Injuries kept McPhee from ultimately reaching his potential with the Bears. He didn’t play a full season in any of his three years with the team, missing 12 games in three seasons. McPhee hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since 2014 – his last year with the Baltimore Ravens.
Demps was part of the ill-fated free agent class of 2017 that didn’t bring much of a return on investment. The veteran safety started three games before suffering a broken arm in the team’s win against the Steelers that sent him to injured reserve. His season-ending injury did open the door for Adrian Amos’ return to the starting lineup. Amos made the most of a second chance, playing his way to a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team and a place at the top of Bleacher Report’s list of best free safeties.
As the cuts continue, the Bears continue to open up cap room that can be used toward improving the 2018 roster, but also positions of need throughout the roster.