According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the New Orleans Saints do not plan to use their franchise tag on starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
Bushrod, 28, was a fourth round draft choice by the Saints in 2007 and has started all 16 games for New Orleans in each of the last three seasons. He was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl.
So... have the Chicago Bears called Bushrod's agent yet?
The new Offensive Coordinator in Chicago is Aaron Kromer, who will also coach the offensive linemen. Kromer was the offensive line coach in New Orleans last season (as well as being the interim-interim head coach during the Bountygate suspensions). According to his bio on the Saints' website, Kromer "brings 22 years of coaching experience to the coaching staff, the majority of it developing and tutoring offensive linemen."
One of the linemen he developed and tutored: Bushrod.
On Jan. 26, the Tribune's Dan Pompei quickly offered a moment of pause when talking about Kromer's ability to mentor young linemen. "If you are expecting Aaron Kromer to turn J'Marcus Webb into Jermon Bushrod, you probably are dreaming," Pompei joked.
Maybe Bushrod himself will replace Webb?
Jake Long has been the biggest name thrown around on the free agent market at tackle early in the postseason, but he is coming off a significant injury. The fact that Bushrod is younger and is a known commodity to the Bears' offensive line coach could make him not only a perfect fit, but an easy recruit for GM Phil Emery.