For Bears, ex-Saint Jermon Bushrod’s ring has immeasurable value
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2013 11:33PM
Updated: March 14, 2013 10:43AM
There was one thing new Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod had that some of the other top offensive tackles didn’t. And it was something coach Marc Trestman called “value that you can’t measure.”
A Super Bowl ring.
“There is nothing like taking that journey and holding that trophy up and getting that ring,” said Bushrod, who spent six seasons with the Saints, winning the Super Bowl in 2010. “We had a good team. We had a good locker room. And that’s important to me going forward, and that’s why I felt this place was a great fit.”
It also was the right time for the Bears, who hold the 20th pick in the draft and plan to remain competitive.
“Most years, you’re not going to find a starting left tackle at 20,” general manager Phil Emery said. “In , when I was in Atlanta, they ran out at the 24th or 25th pick that year, but that was a big year for offensive tackles. Most opportunities, if you’re in the 20s, you’re not looking at a starting left tackle. . . .
“If we feel like, on a consistent basis, we can win nine or more games that for the most part gives you an opportunity to be in the playoffs … when would it be that we’re going to be able to draft a left tackle? So in terms of putting the resources out there from a dollar perspective, it was time to do it.”
It was time to strike, and they signed Bushrod, who received a five-year, $35.96 million contract.
A criticism of Bushrod was that he rated similarly to J’Marcus Webb, who will move to the right side, in Pro Football Focus’ ratings.
“We’ll use statistical data to help us differentiate between players, but that isn’t the final evaluation,” Emery said. “Certainly, we invest in staffing and spend a lot of time evaluating players and formulate our own thoughts and opinions.”
Emery said if Bushrod had a weakness, it was getting his hands inside quickly against powerful rushers, but he credited him for developing his hand work.
“I really saw out of all the tackles that we looked at in the UFA market, he was the one who did the best job in terms of handling and reacting to counter moves from the defender,” Emery said.
The Bears’ pursuit of Bushrod was aided by Saints salary-cap concerns and the Bears having Aaron Kromer as their new offensive coordinator.
As the Saints’ former offensive line coach, Kromer’s input on Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowler, was crucial to their pursuit.
“[Kromer is] probably a major factor of why I’m here,” Bushrod said. “We established a good relationship over the last three or four years. . . . So when I found this was one of the places I could end up, it was a no-brainer.”