(CBS) Bears fans got their first look at the new pieces added by general manager Phil Emery on Wednesday afternoon.
The Bears officially introduced tight end Martellus Bennett and left tackle Jermon Bushrod at an afternoon press conference held at the team’s Walter Payton Center. Emery opened up the presser by saying these two additions ultimately bring the Bears closer to a Super Bowl.
“It was a long process, an exciting process,” Emery said of the flurry of Bears activity on Tuesday. “We were able to add a starting left tackle, an upgrade at that position … We were able to add a weapon to our offense, another target for our quarterback. Being able to add those two positions will open up the draft to us … to also add to the weapons on our team and upgrade the talent base in our effort to win championships.”
In need of a pass-catching, run-blocking tight end, the Bears locked up Bennett with a four-deal worth a reported $20 million just as free agency opened on Tuesday. He spent his first four seasons in Dallas before signing a one-year deal with the Giants last season. In 2012, Bennett, 26, caught 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns.
“Right now, I feel like I can just relax and really, really play,” Bennett told The Boers and Bernstein Show. “I don’t have anything hanging over my head. I have security and I can just really focus on my game and grow as a player. Last year, I had chances to take three-year deals at different places, but I didn’t feel like it was what I was worth, so sometimes you just have to bet on yourself in life.”
Hours after the Bears announced Bennett’s signing, news broke that the team had bolstered their offensive line by signing 28-year-old two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod to a five-year contract worth a reported $35.965 million.
“Jermon’s story is interesting, a former fourth-round pick,” Emery said. “A lot of attractive elements in terms of the player and the person. He’s been a Super Bowl winner. That adds a lot to what we will have as far as a collective group in the locker room.”
Bushrod joins his former offensive line coach Aaron Kromer from New Orleans, who was hired to be head coach Marc Trestman’s offensive coordinator.
“It’s going to be a new learning process for me,” Bushrod told The Boers and Bernstein Show. “Kroms is going through a whole new learning process with the offense. It’ll be a good challenge for us, just getting familiar with everything and getting familiar with everyone and going out and executing it. Whatever it is, we have to work to the best of our ability to get the job done and to get these W’s, because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”