McPhee, who underwent an offseason procedure to fix a lingering knee issue, did not participate in Chicago’s entire offseason program.
“The good thing is that he came in at a really good weight today,” Pace said. “So I know he’s been working hard over the summer so that’s very encouraging. We just got to acclimate himself into football activities so he’ll work with the trainers.”
The Bears’ top free agent signee in 2015, McPhee finished third in sacks (six) and tied for second in tackles for loss (10), despite experiencing knee discomfort much of the year.
The Bears want McPhee, who played in the 280s last season, to drop weight, which he did, reporting to camp on Wednesday in the upper 270s.
“I just think naturally he’s a bigger guy,” Pace said. “Naturally, he can get big. That’s why I’m so proud of him, John Fox and I both are, kind of where he’s right now. Really it’s evident that he worked hard this summer. And I just think the lighter you are, the less pressure on your knees so for him playing at a lighter weight is going to be better because you guys know him, he’s always going to be strong. He’s just got to keep his weight down a little bit.”
Pace added that he's unsure if McPhee will play in any of the Bears' four preseason games.
Chicago’s roster currently stands at 88, but the Bears are expected to quickly fill the vacant spots.