McPhee, 30, was one of the top outside linebackers still available after not signing during the offseason’s first wave of free agency. He had just 11 tackles and no sacks, as well as eight quarterback hits, in 13 games last season with the Washington Redskins.
A fifth-round draft pick of the Ravens in 2011, McPhee left Baltimore after a breakout 2014 season in which he had a career-high 7½ sacks. But after signing a five-year $38.75 million contract with the Bears, he lasted only three seasons in Chicago, his production limited by knee and shoulder injuries. He had six sacks in 2015, then four in nine games in 2016 and another four in 13 games in 2017.
Over his eight NFL seasons, McPhee has 193 tackles, 31 sacks, six forced fumbles and an interception. He has played all 16 games in a season just three times, all during his first stint in Baltimore.
McPhee should compete immediately for playing time at what might be the Ravens’ weakest position. After losing Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency, the defense brings back only Matthew Judon (seven sacks in 2018), Tim Williams (two sacks) and Tyus Bowser (a half-sack) at edge rusher. The team also drafted Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson in the third round.
Before a Bears-Ravens game two years ago, McPhee acknowledged he was hurt by the Ravens’ lack of interest in re-signing him after his rookie deal expired.
“It was still in my system — being a Raven, playing like a Raven,” he said. “That’s how I was bred into this NFL world. That was my birth, just playing like a Raven, being a Raven. Not getting an offer from them — it hurt. But I will always salute [then-general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] and coach [John] Harbaugh for giving me the opportunity to be a Raven. But two years ago, it hurt me a little bit.”
The Bears released McPhee in February 2018, and he signed a one-year deal with the Redskins a month later. Now he’ll be back in Baltimore, where he once lined up at outside linebacker, defensive end and even nose tackle.
"I think you can put Pernell anywhere and he's going to get pressure," Harbaugh said in 2014. "But we have two pretty good guys [Suggs and Elvis Dumervil] coming off the edge, so you want Pernell on the field."
McPhee is not active on social media, but his last tweet is an homage to his Ravens days. It’s a photo of his Super Bowl XLVII ring, a title run he helped with a crucial tip of a pass by the New England Patriots' Tom Brady that led to a Ravens interception late in the AFC championship game.
“Remember like it was yesterday,” he said of the Super Bowl.
Roster moves: The Ravens have signed guard R.J. Prince and cut two former practice squad players from their 90-man roster, the team announced Thursday.
The 6-foot-6, 311-pound Prince, who went undrafted in 2018, spent last season on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad and was cut Monday. He started 24 games over his final two seasons at North Carolina.
Prince joins fourth-round pick Ben Powers and undrafted-free-agent signings Patrick Mekari and Patrick Vahe as new names in the mix at guard. No longer on the team is Kofi Amichia, who was added to the Ravens' practice squad in late October.
The Ravens also parted ways with tight end Nick Keizer, who was signed to the team’s practice squad in late November. The team had added undrafted free agents Charles Scarff and Cole Herdman to the position in recent weeks.
After the three moves, the Ravens have one open spot on their 90-man roster.