The Chicago Bears have reached a five-year deal with the offensive tackle, as per Adam Schefter on Twitter:
Bears give former Saints OT Jermon Bushrod a five-year deal, as well.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2013
The deal is worth $36 million deal, including $17.7 million guaranteed. That averages out to $7.2 million per year, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in Bears history. Can't feel bad for the guy.
We knew this was coming when the Saints never made him an offer and allowed Bushrod to hit the open market. I'm sure this is how the team planned it. In fact, it's been there preferred method of operation over the years. Carl Nicks, Jonathan Goodwin, Jeff Faine and now Bushrod were all allowed to walk when the time came for the Saints to pay up.
This leaves a lot of question marks for the Saints at the offensive tackle position. Charles Brown isn't completely ready, in my humble opinion. I would expect to see the Saints look to pick up a more affordable option later in free agency or draft one this April in the middle rounds.
Good luck to Jermon in that frigid Chicago winter air.