The PhinPhanatic staff is recapping the 2016 season for each Miami Dolphins player as the team prepares for the start of free agency. Here is the 2016 player recap for starting right guard Jermon Bushrod.
Jermon Bushrod has been on the Dolphins’ roster since joining the team as a free agent in March 2016, one month after the Chicago Bears released him. Bushrod signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Miami. At 32, he is now an unrestricted free agent. Despite never playing guard at any level, Bushrod served as the team’s starting right guard in 2016.
Bushrod started all of the games that he played in during the 2016 season. Although there was uncertainty throughout the preseason as to where Bushrod might play and whether he would start, Bushrod won the right guard starting position and never relinquished it. He had never played guard before at any level, but he never complained about the position change and was hard working and consistent.
When Bushrod, Branden Albert, Laremy Tunsil, and Mike Pouncey were in the starting lineup together, Jay Ajayi responded with his first two 200+ yard games. When they were not in the starting lineup together, Bushrod struggled at times. He did commit 7 penalties (5 holding, 2 false starts), and his inexperience at right guard showed somewhat. But Bushrod improved as the season went on, and he played at a high level a vast majority of the season.
17 starts in 17 games played at right guard.
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Heading into this offseason, Bushrod is an unrestricted free agent. On the one hand, his play this season forces the Dolphins to seriously consider signing Bushrod for at least another season. That would allow the team to concentrate on other offensive line positions during this offseason and draft.
At the same time, Bushrod is 32 and one of the older players on the Dolphins’ line. Bushrod also started all of Miami’s games this season but had not done that since 2013. Other teams might approach Bushrod about serving in his prior tackle position, which might appeal to him. Furthermore, the Dolphins could elect to move (under contract) Mike Pouncey to right guard and seek to replace him at center, a position Bushrod would not be expected to compete for.
If the price is right, the Dolphins should sign Bushrod for two to three years. This would allow the team to utilize Bushrod at right guard again next season and possibly longer, while locking him in to mentor younger linemen and serve as a starter, or perhaps even as a backup, in the near future while Miami focuses on shoring up its other needs on the team.
Bushrod was originally the New Orleans Saints’ fourth-round draft pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, and he was the Saints’ starting left tackle in their Super Bowl XLIV championship. In 2013, Bushrod signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears, but he was released by the team in February of 2016.