McPhee, 29, was scheduled to earn a base salary of $7.2 million in 2018, which was too high for a player with only 14 sacks over three seasons in Chicago. By releasing him, the Bears will open up $7.075 million in salary-cap space.
Demps, 32, played in three games last season before landing on injured reserve with a broken forearm. Demps was due to collect a $500,000 roster bonus on the third day of the league year; Demps’ total compensation would’ve maxed out at $4 million in 2018. The Bears signed Demps to a three-year deal last March.
McPhee played extremely hard on defense, and he was also a forceful and entertaining presence in the locker room. However, he missed 12 games with a variety of ailments, including chronic knee issues, since joining the Bears. He was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 21 after trying to battle through a shoulder injury.
The Bears are looking for a long-term solution at the position opposite Leonard Floyd, the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Floyd had developed into one of the Bears’ best defenders in 2017 up until he suffered a knee injury that ultimately required surgery.
Before joining the Bears on a five-year deal that included $15.5 million in guaranteed money, McPhee played four seasons with the Ravens, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Overall, he has 182 tackles, 31 sacks, six forced fumbles and an interception in his seven NFL seasons.
Demps, who intercepted a career-high six passes for the Houston Texans in 2016, was the odd man out in Chicago’s secondary after young safeties Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos emerged as dependable full-time starters in the wake of Demps’ season-ending injury in Week 3.
Houston Texans CEO Cal McNair wants Deshaun Watson part of hiring process for coach
HOUSTON — A week after Houston Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said he hadn’t heard back from quarterback Deshaun Watson since hiring general manager Nick Caserio, McNair said he has now “connected over texts” with Watson.
On the day the Texans announced the hiring of Caserio, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Watson was not happy with the process because, according to league sources, “Watson offered input on potential general manager candidates, but the Texans neither considered nor consulted with those endorsed by their franchise quarterback.”
Now, McNair says the Texans “want [Watson] in the loop and part of the process” as Houston searches for its next head coach. Watson found out on social media, not from the team, that the Texans had hired Caserio, multiple sources told Schefter.
In the interview, McNair also said he will not fire Jack Easterby, the Texans’ executive vice president of football operations. Earlier in the week, former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson tweeted that he stood by Watson and criticized Easterby.
“The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers,” Johnson tweeted. “Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!”
McNair initially said Easterby would not be involved in the process of hiring the Texans’ next general manager, but he said in Caserio’s introductory news conference that he did ask for Easterby’s feedback “on Nick as a leader” during the decision process.
“Jack and I have had a really special relationship,” Caserio said. “It goes back a number of years. … I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him. Any personnel decisions that will be made we’ll make as a group, but ultimately that’s a responsibility that Cal has instilled in me, is to handle the personnel side of the football operations. So that’s the expectation moving forward.”
Schefter also reported that after the Texans traded wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Watson’s anger level was “a 2. … This time, it’s a 10.”
“Change is hard and we’re going through change and I accept everything hasn’t gone perfectly,” McNair said in the interview. “It’s just hard and we’re working through it. If players, media and fans are upset, that’s on me and I’ll apologize for my actions or communications that have created mistrust and I accept those team’s and fan’s frustrations.”
Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon suspended indefinitely again
An NFL spokesperson told ESPN that the decision stems from Gordon violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance-abuse policy. No other details were provided from the league.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported last month that Gordon, 29, had another setback in his recovery from substance abuse as he was nearing his return to the field after a yearlong suspension. A source told Fowler at the time that Gordon was grappling with the reality that he might never be allowed to play in the NFL again as indications throughout the process of his reinstatement from that suspension were that this was probably his final strike.
The league suspended Gordon indefinitely in December of 2019 for violations of its policies on substances of abuse and performance-enhancing substances. That was Gordon’s sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL last month and was set to practice with the Seahawks in Week 16. Coach Pete Carroll said he had a chance to play that Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. But a day before what would have been Gordon’s first official practice in a year, the NFL placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list after deeming that he had not satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement.
Gordon’s tweet Friday — “wasn’t this old news” — suggests his indefinite return to the reserve/suspended by commissioner list stems from last month’s events.
Gordon was allowed back at Seahawks headquarters on Dec. 9 after completing his COVID-19 testing. He tweeted that day that he was “excited as hell to be back amongst the family like this.”
When Gordon’s comeback bid was halted, Carroll said he was not allowed to comment on any specifics of the receiver’s situation, including the nature of his setback.
“We’re not able to comment about any of it, really, other than to say that he’s still coming in, working out with our trainers, and getting his work done conditioning-wise,” Carroll said at the time. “We’ll revisit it again next week. Certainly disappointed not to have him for his sake and for a lot of things, but we’ll stay with it and we’ll see what happens next week.”
Asked how Gordon was handling the situation, Carroll said: “Very frustrated that he’s not out here. Frustrated by it.”
Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks before last season. He would become a free agent if he is reinstated by the NFL again.
Gordon’s attorney, Adam Kenner, confirmed to ESPN in June that Gordon’s 2019 suspension was the result of a setback he experienced after the death of his brother that fall. Gordon posted on social media on Nov. 11, 2019, the day he made his Seahawks debut, about losing his older brother.
Chicago Bears DE Mario Edwards Jr. suspended for first 2 games of 2021 season
CHICAGO — Bears defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2021 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league announced Friday.
Edwards Jr. is no longer under contract with the Bears and will be a free agent in March. He will have to serve the suspension whenever he signs with a team but will be eligible to participate in preseason games and practices.
Edwards Jr. had a career-high four sacks while a member of the Bears in 2020.
The NFL is also investigating a legal issue involving Edwards Jr. that stemmed from an incident last year at a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Edwards Jr., 26, was issued a criminal summons on a charge of misdemeanor assault on a female, according to a spokesperson for the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office in North Carolina in December.
A court date has not yet been set, but the summons arose from a situation at the Hilton Charlotte City Center hotel on Oct. 17, the night before the Bears played the Carolina Panthers.
Police documents said officers responded to reports of a woman hitting a man with her hand and scratching his forehead. Edwards and a woman both had bruises and scratches and both were listed as victims in the police report.
North Carolina court documents, obtained by TMZ, said the woman in question accused Edwards of hitting her in the eye and dragging her out of his hotel room after she began recording him during an argument. The woman stated that she was pregnant at the time of the attack and required hospitalization.
Peter Schaffer, Edwards’ agent, denied that his client was involved in any wrongdoing.
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