Jermon Bushrod wanted to remain in New Orleans, where he made a name for himself and married a local girl.
But with family in mind along with turning 29 this year, Bushrod had to go where he thought he could be set financially long term.
Bushrod agreed to a contract with the Chicago Bears, a five-year deal worth a reported $35.9 million according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
Early Tuesday evening, Bushrod tweeted, 'Its been a bittersweet day for my family and I.. Excited about our new opportunity in Chicago but extremely sad about leaving new Orleans.'
He added, 'I'm very appreciative of the support Ive gotten over the years from the #Whodatnation and I will never forget that as I move forward in life.'
In Chicago, he'll be reunited with Aaron Kromer, who left New Orleans where he was the offensive line coach in January to become the Bears' offensive coordinator.
Bushrod started 68 total games, including 60 consecutive games, since taking over for Jammal Brown during training camp in 2009. A quiet leader in the locker room, Bushrod helped the Saints offense maintain its status as one of the best units in the NFL the past four seasons.
He earned his first career Pro Bowl berth this season and was twice a member of the Madden Most Valuable Protectors of the Year offensive line (2009, 2011).
This isn't the first time the Saints have let an offensive lineman leave when the price got too expensive. In the past, Jeff Faine, Jonathan Goodwin and Carl Nicks all have left for more money elsewhere.
His successor likely will come from a group on the roster that includes Charles Brown, New Orleans' second-round pick in 2010,; Marcel Jones, a seventh-round selection in 2012; and Bryce Harris, whom the Saints signed prior to 2012.
Brown started three games this past season, but ended the year on injured reserve after injuring his knee. Harris filled in for Brown and then started the next game, before suffering a season-ending injury of his own. Jones spent the entire season on IR.