Bears' FA frenzy continues with Pro Bowler Bushrod

Bears' FA frenzy continues with Pro Bowler Bushrod
March 12, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Just call them Phil Emery’s Killer “B’s” on Day One of free agency.

Bennett, and Bushrod.

The Bears general manager made a splash in addressing two primary needs on offense, signing former Giants and Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett to a four-year contract, and a couple of hours later reaching terms on a five-year deal with ex-Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod.

[MORE: Bears address tight end with Bennett]

The second move reunites Bushrod with new Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, who developed Bushrod from a fourth-round draft pick in 2007 to a two-time Pro Bowler protecting Drew Brees’ blind side. It also leaves the future of incumbent J’Marcus Webb in doubt, since if Bushrod does the same for Jay Cutler here – Webb may be left to compete for the right tackle position or simply be a backup, if he remains with the club at all.

Bennett comes in after a career year with the Giants (55 receptions, five touchdowns) – after signing a one-year deal with New York at this time a year ago.  His first four seasons were spent in Dallas, where he underachieved after being a second-round pick in 2008. Bennett and Tennessee’s Jared Cook were the top-rated tight ends in this year’s free agent class, though Bennett is a better blocker and less of a downfield threat than Cook, who wound up signing with the St. Louis Rams.

Emery’s still expected to address the offensive line further through free agency and/or the draft next month, but Tuesday’s signings are the first steps in providing Cutler more opportunities for success under new head coach Marc Trestman. The GM also has to make corresponding roster moves to make salary cap room for the two signees – either through cuts or restructuring of contracts.

As of early Tuesday evening, Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach remain on the open market.