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Bears bolster offense

The Bears upgraded two key positions on the first day of free agency Tuesday.

In a span of less than three hours, the Bears signed tight end Martellus Bennett to a four-year deal and reportedly signed left tackle Jermon Bushrod to a five-year deal. The team confirmed Bennett's signing but has not confirmed that of Bushrod, whose deal was announced by ESPN's Adam Schefter as well as other outlets.

By signing Bennett and Bushrod, the Bears provided new head coach Marc Trestman and new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer with a pair of dynamic players who should help to bolster a group that finished No. 28 in total offense in 2012.

Bennett should replace Kellen Davis as the team's starting tight end, while Bushrod is likely to start at left tackle, where he earned two Pro Bowl selections as a member of the New Orleans Saints. That likely would mean J'Marcus Webb could compete for a starting job at right tackle, while Gabe Carimi could compete for playing time at guard.

Bennett, 26, caught 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns last season with the New York Giants. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end spent four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before playing for the Giants in 2012.

Bushrod, 28, has spent the duration of his six-year career with the New Orleans Saints, where Kromer was his position coach. He started on the Saints' Super Bowl championship team during the 2009 season and has 62 starts in his career.

After a busy day, much work remains for Emery as he reshapes the Bears' roster. He still has yet to announce a decision regarding the future of 34-year-old linebacker Brian Urlacher, who became an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career Tuesday.

-Tom Musick



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