As sweet as it was to see the Falcons lose for most Saints players, especially Scott Shanle who made his hatred of them very clear with his epic trolling of the Falcons' fans on twitter, the loss was even more significant for Jermon Bushrod. The Saints' left tackle, by virtue of a 49ers win, will now be headed to his second consecutive Pro Bowl as Joe Staley is now ineligible due to his trip to the Super Bowl. That said, I do have to question how deserved this is. I had graded Bushrod as having a down year compared to last season, and Pro Football Focus rated him as the 20th best tackle in the NFC. It goes to show yet again how the Pro Bowl is in large part a popularity contest that is inconsistent in rewarding merit. That said, it's nice recognition for a good guy and a solid football player. Bushrod joins punter Thomas Morstead, guard Jahri Evans and quarterback Drew Brees as the fourth Saint to make the Pro Bowl this season.
Most imporantly for Bushrod...
it perhaps gives his agent more ammunition to seek a nice contract for his client that is about to enter unrestricted free agency for the second time. Bushrod struggled to command that big time contract last time around in the lockout offseason year, and now that he has two Pro Bowls attached to his name that may entice someone to throw stupid money at him. Last time he entered free agency, he was a rising young tackle but he didn't have the confirmation of any Pro Bowls. I'm sure the Saints have an offer in mind they'll throw at Bushrod and there's a decent chance it will be slightly less than what a desperate team with a poor line might offer him. The big question then is whether the Saints get the hometown discount or not, and the answer to that question remains to be seen.
Congrats to #74 on making the Pro Bowl.
Do you think this will affect how much he gets paid this offseason? Do you see him returning to the Saints?
I love the Saints, but our O-Tackles are excellent backups. We need starters to be truly successful. I've seen Bushrod manhandled and faked out of his shoes so often, it's silly. I love Strief, too, but he's slow and not as athletic as we need.