Phil Emery assumed the General Manager post of the Chicago Bears under clear blue skies following Hurricane Jerry Angelo. Angelo made some fine moves, we all know that. He traded for Jay Cutler. He signed Julius Peppers. He drafted Matt Forte and Devin Hester. But Angelo was disliked by nearly the entire fan base and disrespected by 75% of the media (the latter caused by a serious of puzzling statements made over years of press conferences). His dismissal was met by the thundering applause of one of America's greatest cities
It did not take Phil Emery long to realize what Angelo had to deal with in Chicago. Before he was hired the fans were calling him the "safe selection". (Hell I was doing that too.) Hub Arkush was arguing on radio that Emery would not have the power to make football decisions due to the presence of Ted Phillips. (An argument never made during Angelo's tenure.) The columnists who shall no longer be named on this site insisted that ownership's decision to retain Lovie Smith meant Emery would be the French president of a Vichy government at Halas Hall.
Wrong. All of us. Fans. Arkush. Columnists. Today Phil Emery pulled off a highway robbery and acquired Jay Cutler the number one wide receiver we've all clamored to see in Soldier Field. Whether it was the actual case or not, Emery landed the Bears a top tier receiver in lieu of the the league's premiere defensive free agent: Mario Williams. He listened to the voice of his quarterback; the man who is guaranteed a presence in Chicago beyond the 2012 season.
Emery could have done this the easy way. He could have cut a large check to Vincent Jackson and put a major talent in navy and orange. Instead he pulled the wool over the eyes of a dozen NFL writers and half a dozen Chicago beat mean who've done nothing but cover pending free agency for weeks. He worked out a smooth trade for Brandon Marshall and now he'll pay a perennial Pro Bowler just 9 million a year over the next three years having given up only a couple of third round draft picks. It was a masterstroke and hopefully the beginning of a brilliant tenure in Chicago for Emery.
Here are some more thoughts on the major deal of day one:
- Can you imagine what the receiving corps will look like in 2012 if Michael Floyd is still on the board when the Bears draft at 19?
- Having saved 3-5 million a year by acquiring Marshall and not Jackson, Emery still has wiggle room when it comes to the free agency market.
- Rumors abound that Jason Campbell will be coming to Chicago to back up Jay Cutler. I've advocated this for months and hope to see it happen.
- I do not rule Mario Williams completely out for the Bears though the full court press from the Bills is disconcerting. If Williams wants to become the highest paid defender in NFL it will not happen in Chicago.
- I don't believe the Bears will ignore the offensive line. There are some veterans tackles on the market now and we've seen that approach lead to a Super Bowl run.
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