Bears OT Bushrod doesn't know if he'll be back in 2016

BY foxsports • January 12, 2016

After losing his starting job in 2015, Chicago Bears offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod might not be back next season. He will be 32 in August, and the team can save a lot of money by releasing him this offseason.

Bushrod doesn't know what the future holds for him.

Via Bears senior writer Larry Mayer:

It's tough. I've grown close to the guys here. I love this organization and everything it is about. We don't know how it's going to shake out, but we'll see how the future works out. But either way, I'm appreciative of my time here. I've cherished my time here.

I've worked hard, and that's all you can do. This year was tough for me physically, mentally and emotionally a little bit, but with the right people around me we got through it.

Bushrod, who entered the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2007, was a two-time Pro Bowler with the New Orleans Saints. He signed a five-year, $36 million contract with the Bears during the 2013 offseason. While he still has two years left on that deal, the team will save more than $4 million against the salary cap by cutting him, according to Spotrac.

Although Bushrod began the season as the starting left tackle, a shoulder injury forced him to the sideline in Week 4. Charles Leno, a seventh-round pick in 2014, replaced him and played so well that he held onto the starting job for the rest of the season. When healthy again, Bushrod played sparingly as a jumbo tight end.

Offensive tackle remains a position of need, even though Leno was a pleasant surprise. Kyle Long, who played right tackle in 2015, should move back to right guard. The Bears could use an aging Bushrod in that role, or they could look to bring in some fresh talent.

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