When the 2015 NFL free agency period began, the Bears were intent on fixing the pass rush and finding the right type of linebackers to fit their new base 3-4 defense. They quickly agreed to terms with Baltimore’s Pernell McPhee and basically reshuffled the deck by moving Jared Allen, Willie Young, and Lamarr Houston — last year’s free agent defensive end acquisitions — to outside linebacker.
But with all that movement, that left the Bears’ cupboard a little barren along the front. The Bears worked toward fixing that with the signings of former second-round defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins from the Washington Redskins, and Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers (story on this later).
Jenkins is a relatively young player at almost 27 years of age. He started 33 games in three seasons with only two sacks and 75 tackles. Jenkins will fit the role of defensive end in the new Bears defense, which doesn’t require elite pass rushing, rather, it requires controlling the gaps on the line of scrimmage and stuffing running lanes.
As for McDonald, he’s an eight-year veteran who played under new Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in San Francisco. He ran into some trouble with the law, being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence last season and the 49ers released him in December. Assuming McDonald can keep his nose clean, he’ll be a great fit with his former coordinator from the Niners.
After the McPhee signing and the addition of safety Antrel Rolle, the Bears now have addressed every level of their defense and you can be sure that they’ll continue adding pieces through the draft.