Bushrod signing tackles Bears' protection problem

Dan Pompei

On the NFL

6:39 PM CDT, March 12, 2013


Of all the tackles who made it to free agency, Jermon Bushrod clearly was the best fit for the Chicago Bears.

He was the only one who the Bears could reasonably hope to perform at a high level at the left tackle position for the next five plus years. At 28, Bushrod is young enough and gifted enough to be a long-term solution at a critical position.

You couldn’t say that about Bryant McKinnie or Winston Justice, other free-agent tackles.

Some of the best tackles with expiring contracts never made it to free agency.  Among them were Ryan Clady of the Broncos (franchised), Will Beatty of the Giants (re-signed) and Brandon Albert of the Chiefs (franchised).
Of those who remained, none fit the left tackle profile like Bushrod did. Phil Loadholt, whom the Bears were reportedly very interested in before he re-signed with the Vikings, is a right tackle only. The same could be said of Sebastian Vollmer of the Patriots and Gosder Cherilus of the Lions.  Andre Smith of the Bengals might be able to switch to the left side, but he has a lot of baggage.

There was some talk of Jake Long of the Dolphins joining the Bears, but Bushrod is a superior player. Long has struggled with inconsistency and injuries for two seasons. At this point of his career, some feel he can be effective only as a right tackle.

Some NFL front office men would pick apart Bushrod as well. They can say he isn’t the best run blocker and he gives up pressures to power rushers. But the fact is he is a two-time Pro Bowler and has played in one of the NFL’s most efficient passing offenses. 

He clearly is an upgrade for the Bears and can help them win games on offense. It will help that he knows the offensive of new coordinator Aaron Kromer.

In many ways, Bushrod is the ideal solution for the Bears.