Bears, lineman Jermon Bushrod agree to a 5-year, $35.965 M deal
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 12, 2013 5:47PM
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 21: Jermon Bushrod #74 of the New Orleans Saints spikes the ball during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Updated: March 12, 2013 10:38PM
Determined to upgrade the offensive line, the Bears turned to a free agent developed by new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
According to a source, the Bears have signed Jermon Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has played his first six NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, to a five-year deal worth $35.965 million with $17.715 guaranteed.
The Saints wanted him back, but Bushrod is going to follow Kromer to Chicago, as the two will be keys in turning around one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines.
The Bears were also interested in former four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, but it’s believed his price tag was too high.
A fourth-round pick in 2007, Bushrod only appeared in three games his first two seasons. But after Kromer arrived as the Saints’ offensive line coach in 2009, Bushrod became a starter and has only missed one game in the four seasons since.
He’s started all 16 games in each of the last three seasons.
Bushrod turns 29 in August.
Pro Football Focus had Bushrod as the sixth-best free-agent offensive tackle, citing his consistency as a chief concern.
“Serviceable [as a starter] if you either accept his inconsistencies or have the right leadership and coaching staff around him to iron out those letdown games that seem to come along at least once a month,” PFF wrote.
Last season, Bushrod was rated 44th by PFF, just three spots ahead of incumbent left tackle J’Marcus Webb. He had six penalties (two fewer than Webb), gave up four sacks (three fewer than Webb) and eight quarterback hits (three more than Webb). But the alarming number is quarterback hurries.
Bushrod gave up 46 hurries, second-most in the NFL among tackles, just one fewer than Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins.
Bushrod, though, did develop under Kromer, and the coach’s input certainly was weighed in the decision-making process.