NFL Free Agency 2013: Bye, Bye, Jermon Bushrod

Jeff Zelevansky

Add one more fruit basket delivery to Drew Brees' house. If you want to get a big time paycheck, come block for "Breesus." Making miracles happen since '06.

It started with Jeff Faine, then it was Carl Nicks, and now, Jermon Bushrod is the next New Orleans Saints offensive lineman to get a big pay day after blocking for future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees.

Bushrod accepted a five-year deal worth $36 million from the Chicago Bears to protect Jay Cutler's blind side. This is the only place that made sense for the six-year veteran to play for, outside of New Orleans.

The reason?

The Bears new offensive coordinator is Aaron Kromer, the offensive-line wizard who was recently with the Saints. Kromer was not a good fit to lead a team, but to develop offensive lineman? He is the man you want on your team.

With that said, Bushrod had Kromer last season and was still the 44th rated offensive tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. He was 25th on Matt Miller's left tackle rankings. The 25th best LEFT tackle, not of them all, but yeah, he was well deserving of going to the Pro Bowl (That voting process is a joke and an article all in itself).

People who saw my public spat with Bushrod will think that this is some kind of personal attack. No, people, I am stating facts, and if you didn't want to go by facts, just watch the preseason game against rookie Chandler Jones. Abused isn't even the word to describe that event. Or we can go to the Osi Umenyiora spin move on the "athletic" left tackle to crush Brees.

Worth over $7 million per year? Ha. I'm good.

The 44th-highest paid offensive tackle last season was Khalif Barnes at $2 million.

I'm not guessing that the Saints front office and Bushrod were that far apart, but I bet the gap was still very significant. The team thought that he was a solid player, not a spectacular, $36 million "Pro Bowler."

Bushrod was in pass protection on 726 snaps last season. He gave up four sacks, eight quarterback hits and 46 quarterback hurries on those snaps. That comes to 8%.

8% might not seem like a lot, but it is when you consider what some of the top offensive tackles give up in the NFL, since he is now getting paid like them. Ryan Clady and Joe Thomas gave up pressures on 3.4% and 2.5% of their pass protection snaps, respectively.

You want to know what's really embarrassing?

Bushrod's 2012 Pro Bowl year compares very favorably to rookie Bobby Massie of the Arizona Cardinals who had an awful first year. Massie had 707 pass-protection snaps, and in those snaps, gave up 13 sacks, 6 hits and 42 hurries for a total of 61 pressures. That gives him a percentage of 8.6%.

A Pro Bowl player is 0.6% points better than a terrible rookie?

That makes me fall on the floor laughing at everything from his contract to his Pro Bowl selection and everything in between.

What really makes it even funnier is that the guy he is replacing, J'Marcus Webb, was a full 1.1 percentage points, at 6.9%, ahead of Bushrod last season in pass protection.

I am very glad that Mickey Loomis decided not to overpay to keep an average starter, at best. That has to mean that Sean Payton and Loomis are ready to hand the blindside duties over to Charles Brown, who showed vast improvement before being injured last year. This is his "put-up-or-shut-up" contract year, so he should be injury-free.

That being said, the Saints still did well by not overpaying for a player that should be making around $2 to $3 million and not what he inked for. That will give the team a little added flexibility, maybe not next year, when other vital players that actually earned big money need to be bumped up, like Jimmy Graham.

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