Bears place focus on offensive line

The Chicago Bears are making left tackle a major free-agent focus.

A source told FOXSports.com that Miami’s Jake Long and New Orleans’ Jermon Bushrod are atop the team’s wish list when the free-agent signing period begins at 4 p.m. ET.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Long reached the Pro Bowls during each of his first four seasons in Miami. But a lengthy injury history and high contract demands prompted the Dolphins to use their franchise tag on defensive tackle Randy Starks and let the 27-year-old Long hit free agency even with ample salary cap space available.

Bushrod, 28, reached the Pro Bowl the past two seasons as the blindside protector of quarterback Drew Brees. And while Bushrod recently told me and co-host Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he preferred to play for a warm-weather team, there is a natural link to the Bears. Aaron Kromer, who was Bushrod’s offensive line coach in New Orleans, is Chicago’s new offensive coordinator.

The Saints are working to re-sign Bushrod but may not have the cap space to keep him in the fold.

Left tackle has proven an ongoing issue for the Bears as quarterback Jay Cutler has taken a beating behind a porous offensive line. J’Marcus Webb started all 16 games at the position in 2012.