Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
The Chicago Bears released left tackle Jermon Bushrod on Tuesday following three years in the Windy City, according to the team's official Twitter account.
USA Today's Tom Pelissero reported that Bushrod was cut "with a failed physical designation." On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Bushrod has a tear in his shoulder that will likely require surgery. However, Rapoport noted Bushrod will be ready for 2016.
Bushrod took to Instagram to thank fans:
According to CBSChicago.com's Dan Durkin, cutting Bushrod will save the Bears $4.3 million next season and leave them with $4.4 million in dead money since his deal was set to run through the 2017 season.
Chicago general manager Ryan Pace released a statement shortly after Chicago made the move official, per Bears sideline reporter Zach Zaidman:
After appearing in 30 of a possible 32 regular-season games during his first two years in Chicago, Bushrod made just three starts in 2015 because of a concussion and a subsequent shoulder injury.
However, the 31-year-old told reporters in January he wants to keep playing as long as his body will let him.
"Honestly, I've been feeling good," Bushrod said, per Larry Mayer of the team's official website. "I just haven't been able to really put it together like I've wanted to. You just like to be a part [of the team]; win, lose or draw you want to be a part. You want to hang your hat on what you go out there and do. That's my mindset that I'm going to use going forward throughout this thing and I think it's going to buy me another year or two in this league."
While Bushrod battled the injury, second-year tackle Charles Leno Jr. out of Boise State held his own protecting quarterback Jay Cutler's blind side. In fact, Rapoport reported Leno's play throughout the 2015 season gave Chicago the flexibility to cut Bushrod.
But despite Leno's emergence, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller noted Bushrod's release could open the door for some shuffling along Chicago's offensive line:
Based on the way Bushrod's stint in Chicago ended, the nine-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler may need to scratch and claw his way onto a roster come next season.
That said, he boasts an impressive resume that could be attractive to teams in need of an insurance policy at left tackle.