It's been out there for a few days that the Chicago Bears and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee had agreed to a five-year contract, and on Wednesday the Bears finally made the signing official:


And what is also official, then, is Ryan Pace's first big move since being named Phil Emery's replacement as Bears general manager in January.

The signing also represents a major building piece in the 3-4 scheme that former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is bringing to Chicago.

McPhee, 26, is an ideal player to help start up a 3-4 scheme, due to his tremendous versatility. In fact, Pro Football Focus' Ben Stockwell called McPhee "arguably the league’s most versatile defensive free agent."

The 6'3", 280-pounder was primarily an outside linebacker backing up premier edge rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in Baltimore's 3-4 scheme, but also played with his hand in the ground at defensive end, and even lined up some at nose tackle. Fangio is known as one of the more creative defensive coordinators in the game and is surely salivating at the ways he will be able to use McPhee in this defense.

Even with only being on the field for 47.8% of the Ravens' defensive snaps in 2014, McPhee still racked up 7.5 sacks, 27 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and four pass breakups. Per Stats INC, McPhee also had 38 combined quarterback hurries and knockdowns in 2014, good for 14th in the NFL.

What really stands out is how much Pro Football Focus loved McPhee in 2014:






It remains to be seen if the production will remain at that same level for McPhee with starter's snaps in Chicago, but those are some impressive statistics that really make the signing look like a great one on the surface, especially when you factor in McPhee's versatility and age. And McPhee should be considered a "young" 26-year-old in the NFL, given the limited snaps he's played; he should have fresh legs for a while.

As for the financial details of the contract, The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson reports that McPhee will get $39 million over five years:


Most reports over the last few days have said the guaranteed money in the deal was expected to be $16 million, but the official number is not yet out there.

We will surely find out more about the contract, McPhee, and how the Bears plan to use him at the introductory press conference, which will be at 2 PM CT today at Halas Hall.

You can watch the press conference live on the Bears' official website.

Get the latest DBN updates by following us on Facebook & Twitter.