The Redskins' newest addition was in free agency for the second time in his career, but there were a few factors that ultimately helped him make his decision to come to Washington.
Just prior to free agency opening this year, veteran linebacker Pernell McPhee was released by the Chicago Bears.
While being a free agent is a stressful time in any player’s life, McPhee remained relaxed as he waited to find out where his next destination would be for the 2018 season.
“I really didn’t have any pressure,” McPhee told Redskins.com. “I recently purchased my grandma a house, I’ve just been fixing that up so I’ve really been kind of relaxed all the time. So it was really chill.”
Over the last week, McPhee had visited with both the Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons. While the 29-year-old admitted that the decision between Washington and Atlanta was “real close” there were two prominent figures with the Redskins that factored into his decision to sign on the dotted line.
“When I say close, I mean it was probably one of the biggest decisions I had to make on my own in my life,” McPhee said. “Because you never know what you’re going to get out of the other team but coach Greg [Manusky], the defensive coordinator, he helped me out, [Senior Vice President of Player Personnel] Mr. [Doug] Williams helped me out a lot too. They just let me know that I’d be taken care of and be comfortable, just knowing the system and the 3-4 and knowing that I have a brotherhood and a father figure there, too. That really helped me out.”
For his career, McPhee – who is entering his eighth NFL season -- has collected 182 tackles (139 solo) along with 31 sacks, 12 passes defensed, six fumbles forced and one interception.
The Washington Redskins on Monday, March 26, 2018, announced the signing of linebacker Pernell McPhee. Take a look back at his NFL career.
In Washington, he’ll fit into an outside linebackers rotation that includes three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan along with fellow Mississippi State product Preston Smith.
While McPhee and Smith didn’t play together in college (McPhee’s final season was in 2010 while Smith’s first season was in 2011), the two know each other.
Kerrigan, meanwhile, is a player he’s excited to play alongside. Selected in the same draft as McPhee, Kerrigan is currently 12th among active players in sacks with 71.5.
“I’m happy and excited that I get to meet him,” McPhee said. “He’s been one of the great tacklers over the last seven years, eight years. It’ll be fun learning from him and playing with him.”
As for McPhee, he believes he’ll be able to help Kerrigan, Smith and the rest of the defense throughout his time with the Redskins.
“I think I can bring a lot, because just being in Baltimore under some of the great players and also being under the [Chicago Bears’] defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, I know a lot from the game, I took a lot from them, I soaked a lot in. Football-wise…I think I’ll really help them play fast. I’m going to catch on to the system early and going out, me personally causing havoc, staying in the backfield, making the offense game plan for me.
“And leadership-wise too I think that’s very important, I think I can help lead the team to a place they weren’t at last year.”