It’s no secret that league observers expect the Saints’ top offseason priority to be upgrading a defense that set a league record for yards allowed in 2012. A hole at left tackle will command their attention if they fail to re-sign OLT Jermon Bushrod, though.
The Saints want stability at left tackle, and QB Drew Brees has said he wants Bushrod, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent, back. Bushrod is open to staying with the Saints. So, there are reasons for both sides to be optimistic that a deal can be reached to keep him in place as the protector of Brees’ blind side.
The challenge for GM Mickey Loomis is creating enough salary-cap space to make Bushrod an offer that he would have to at least seriously consider. The Saints are going to need to trim significant salary just to be cap compliant by the time the new league year begins in March, and Bushrod probably will not be cheap as an athletic, durable, 28-year-old left tackle.
Bushrod allowed 4½ sacks this season, according to STATS, LLC, which is only 1½ more than he allowed in his Pro Bowl 2011 season. He also was flagged for only one holding penalty in 2012.