While not usually considered as one of the top left tackles in the NFL, Jermon Bushrod has certainly proven he is more than capable of protecting a quarterback’s blindside. With the New Orleans Saints not planning to franchise tag him, the Chicago Bears might be the most interested of teams to land him.
Bushrod has been with the Saints since 2007, landing the starting job two years later, and playing in all 16 games for the team these past three seasons. One of the reasons Drew Brees has been so productive in recent years has been the protection given to him. The Saints allowed just 26 sacks last season, tied for third best in the NFL, giving Bushrod, and that entire unit protecting Brees, quite a lot of protection credentials.
Bushrod, 28, is going to command a lot of interest in free agency, but probably not the highest of contracts. Still, a team like the Bears, who struggled in protecting its quarterback, especially from the left side, where J’Marcus Webb not only got a lot of pulls and yells from Jay Cutler after blowing his assignment more than once, but actually played pretty badly for most of the season, as the Bears allowed 44 sacks last season (8th worst in the NFL), one of the reasons they failed to make the postseason with a 9-7 record.
Aaron Kromer, who was the offensive line coach for the Saints from 2009 to 2012 and the running back coach previous to that, will be the Bears’ new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, which brings the usually useful coaching connection to bring in players who have plenty of demand across the board. The Bears aren’t in the most cap-friendly of situations and do need to clear some space before making a move at Bushrod, but they’re certainly going to try and upgrade their offensive line through free agency, and Bushrod might be the first man on their shortlist.