The Arguement For Jermon Bushrod
Let me preface this by saying that Bushrod is not a franchise LT and he is not a single saviour to the OL, what he is, is a competent starter that upgrades over Carimi/Scott.
What we have right now is 1 OT [Webb], 1 OG [Louis if healthy] and a veteran C that we are going to have a tough time replacing this season.
I break it down like this,
RT: Webb, the position I think he is better equipped mentally to play.
This leaves us needing an OT and the way the LTs are climbing in the draft I think it is too big a risk to wait for the draft to fill that need.
This is why Bushrod makes sense and represents an upgrade over the OT play from last season.
1. Cost, The Bears with Peppers deal, Melton's possible franchise tag and Cutler's contract coming up cannot affor an 8 million dollar a year OT like Albert and Vollmer. They need someone in the 4-5 million dollar range that allows them to re-sign some of their many free agents. Bushrod will come much cheaper than Albert while still representing an upgrade over Carimi/Scott. Of the cheaper tier of OTs, Bushrod, Sam Baker, Gosder Cherilus, Bushrod is the most attractive too me.
2. Webb to RT, many people are saying that Bushrod is not much of an upgrade over Webb and I agree with them. But Webb is our best OLmen and while he may not stay at LT if Bushrod is signed he will be starting at RT where I think he will be more successful. This is where the real upgrade happens because while Bushrod gives us a similar player at LT, maybe more consistent, Webb is light years ahead of Carimi/Scott and we go from a turn style at RT to a competent player.
3. Familiarity, free agency is a huge risk with the amount of money that is being offered to players who have wear and tear on their bodies. Because of Kromer the Bears have intimate knowledge of how Bushrod fits in a locker room, how hard he works in practice and the offseason and most importantly how banged up or injured he is.
4. Health, Bushrod has an incredibly clean bill of health for an OLmen that has played more than 5 years in the NFL. The big name OTs have health issues Vollmer and Albert [back] and the 2nd tier OLmen have health concerns Baker [back] and it was reported this week that Cherilus was in Germany getting stem cell work done on his knee. The last thing we can have happen is to pay a guy to stabilize the OT spot and have him miss significant time. Bushrod has not missed a start in 4 years since he became a starter.
5. Versatility, Bushrod is a versatile player and while he has a ton of starts at LT, where I want him to play, with his physicality and run blocking he can play RT if Webb takes a huge step at LT this offseason. And if we draft an OT in round 1 to play LT at 6'5" 315lbs. Bushrod is the ideal size for a pass blocking LG. He allows the Bears to be flexible in the draft and to put the best 5 players on the field.
6. The NO Protection model, if we follow the New Orleans protection model of competent, but unspectacular, OT play paired with dominant OG play Bushrod fits the bill. The Bears are more likely to invest big money and draft picks in fixing the interior and by having Webb and Bushrod as your tackles you can invest still in the interior. If OG play is more important than OT play, as it was in New Orleans with Nicks and Evand and now Evans and Grubbs, then we need 2 competent not expensive tackles to free up resources on the interior of the line. If the Bears want a 8 million dollar LG he cannot be playing beside a 10 million dollar LT.
Bushrod is not a superstar, but he is another competent OT that can start for the Bears and we need 2 of them.
LT: Webb 6/10
RT: Carimi/Scott 3/10
LT: Bushrod 7/10
RT: Webb 7/10
I think the 2013 version is a big improvement and at a decent cost and gives us 2 stable, competent OTs that can allow us to build the interior OL and follow the NO model.