The Chicago Bears acted quickly during the opening minutes of free agency by adding Martellus Bennett to be the team’s new starting tight end, and the club then addressed their other pressing need with offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod.
Bears are wrapping up a deal with OT Jermon Bushrod
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2013
The former left tackle for the New Orleans Saints has started 62 games over four years protecting the blind side of Drew Brees where current Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was his offensive line coach.
Kromer helped develop Bushrod, 28, from a fourth round pick from Towson University into a Pro Bowl selection each of the past two seasons.
The addition of Bushrod to the Bears offensive line will allow the team to shift J’Marcus Webb from the left side to right tackle where he wouldn’t be as big of a liability in pass protection. He will compete with Gabe Carimi, a first round pick in 2011, to be the starter on the right side. Carimi could also be viewed as a right guard after having some success there last season, and likely means free agent Jonathan Scott will not be brought back.
Personally, I would have taken a pass on Bushrod. He is an expensive option for a team with limited salary cap room and is not significant upgrades over the current players on the team. According to Pro Football Focus, Bushrod ranked as the 44th best tackle and Webb ranked 47th among all tackles in the league.
Do you really want to shell out $10 million a year to a tackle that is only a minimal upgrade over Webb? I would rather the team have entered the draft and taken the best available player along the offensive line whether it’s a tackle like D.J. Fluker or a guard like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper.
However, it appears that won’t be the case as the Bears have signed Bushrod and addressed two of their biggest needs in a matter of hours. Now the Bears can enter the draft and take the best player available. Hopefully, Bushrod can make it to a third straight Pro Bowl and make the Pro Football Focus rankings look foolish.