The Chicago Bears have signed offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod to a five-year deal. The team has yet to make the signing official, yet it's being reported the deal is worth $35.9 million, including $17.7 million guaranteed. His yearly average salary of $7.193 million makes him the highest paid offensive lineman in Bears history.
Bushrod (6-5, 315) has played his entire career at left tackle for the New Orleans Saints, starting all but two games the past four seasons.
Bushrod became a starter for the Saints when Aaron Kromer, currently Chicago's offensive coordinator, was named offensive line coach in 2009. He developed under Kromer and the two know each other very well. As such, it's no surprise the Bears pursued a player very familiar to the OC.
Bushrod is a two-time Pro Bowler who won a Super Bowl with the Saints in 2009. For four years he's been solid protecting Drew Brees' blindside. Bushrod is known more for his pass-blocking prowess and is not a mauler in the run game. That will do just fine for the Bears, who have had issues in pass protection for three seasons in a row.
This move means J'Marcus Webb will either be shifted to the right tackle spot, where he started as a rookie in 2010, or he'll be demoted to swing tackle. One interesting note from last season: according to Pro Football Focus, Webb had a higher pass-blocking grade than Bushrod. That said, Bushrod should still provide an upgrade on the left edge, where Webb has always been inconsistent.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.