Bears rumors: Jake Long, Jermon Bushrod draw Chicago's interest

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Jake Long and Jermon Bushrod are near the top of the Bears' free agent wishlist, according to reports. Can the Dolphins and Saints do anything to hang on to their starting left tackles?

After giving up 44 sacks in 2012, it's no surprise that the Chicago Bears have turned their attention to the top free agent offensive linemen. According to Sean Jensen of Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears have a very real interest in Miami Dolphins left tackle Jake Long. Jermaine Bushrod of the New Orleans Saints is also in play at left tackle for Chicago, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Either player would significantly shore up a long-suffering blind side.

Long is perhaps the biggest name offensive lineman set to hit the free agent market, though his value declined significantly during the 2012 season. He was much less effective last season due to injuries, and ultimately landed on injured reserve with a torn triceps muscle. That said, the former No. 1 overall pick is still one of the game's best, even if he isn't likely to land the mega-deal he initially wanted from the Dolphins.

Bushrod remains an offseason priority for the Saints, but he is reportedly "50-50" on returning with the team next season. The Saints don't have much cap space, and may have to hope that the left tackle can't find the money he is looking for on the open market. After two Pro Bowl seasons in his last two years as a starter in New Orleans, there's a good chance that Bushrod can earn a more sizable contract elsewhere.

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