The Chicago Bears have a huge problem that has largely been ignored by the franchise that they have the chance to address in a big way this off season: left tackle. In today’s NFL, it is essential that you have a strong consistent left tackle protecting the blind side of the quarterback, otherwise your offense fails and your team will be nothing more than middle of the road. Luckily for the Bears, there will be several attractive options they could possibly acquire between free agency and a very heavily offensive line loaded draft.
Free agency starts in mid March and will see many big name offensive linemen become available–names like Jake Long, Ryan Clady, Brandon Albert, Andre Smith and of course Jermon Bushrod. It appears likely that Clady is going to receive the franchise tag from the Denver Broncos and that Albert could be a candidate for the tag from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Long is a former number one overall draft pick who has seen his skills diminish due to injuries of the past few seasons. Smith has been a solid tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals , though there are many questions regarding his off season decision making. That leaves us with long time New Orleans Saints left tackle Bushrod. A fourth round pick in the 2007 NFL draft, Bushrod has developed into one of the top left tackles in the game today.
Coming to Chicago only makes sense for Bushrod should he hit the free agent market. By choosing to sign with the Bears, Bushrod would be reunited with his former offensive line coach and new Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. Under Kromer’s leadership, Bushrod has gone to back to back Pro Bowls (2011 and 2012), not to mention that Bushrod was protecting Drew Brees’ blindside in Super Bowl XLIV.
The Bears would be making a huge mistake by not jumping at the opportunity to bring in a player the caliber of Bushrod at the position they most desperately need to address. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been running for his life ever since the Bears traded for him during the 2009 off season. Last off season, the Bears helped Cutler by bringing in a tremendous wide receiver in Brandon Marshall. Now it is time to do the same by helping Cutler out in protection with one of the best in his craft in Jermon Bushrod.