Determined to upgrade the offensive line, the Bears turned to a free agent developed by new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
According to a source, the Bears are working on a long-term contract with Jermon Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has played his first six NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints wanted him back, but Bushrod is going to follow Kromer to Chicago, as the two will be keys in turning around one of the NFL's worst offensive lines.
The Bears were also interested in former four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, but it's believed his price tag was too high.
"We're very fortunate to get a left tackle in free agency," general manager Phil Emery told the team's website. "It's very difficult to get them in the draft and it's extremely difficult to get them in free agency. To be able to get [Bushrod] was a coup for the Bears."
A fourth-round pick in 2007, Bushrod only appeared in three games his first two seasons. But after Kromer arrived as the Saints' offensive line coach in 2009, Bushrod became a starter and has only missed one game in the four seasons since.
He's started all 16 games in each of the last three seasons.
Bushrod turns 29 in August.
UPDATE: It's a five-year, $35.96 million contract with $17.715 million guaranteed. Bushrod's 2013 salary cap number is $3.01 million, according to a league source.