Imrem: Bears' unnecessary headache goes away

The boffo Brandon Marshall transaction was described on as a "Whoa!" moment.

Charley Casserly of the NFL Network said, "Ultimately it could be a win for both teams."

Did Casserly offer that assessment three days ago? No, three years ago. Were the two teams involved the Bears and the Jets? No, the Bears and the Dolphins.

Phil Emery acquired Marshall from Miami in 2012 in one of his early moves as Bears general manager.

Now Ryan Pace is trading Marshall to the Jets in one of his early moves as Emery's replacement.

Emery was applauded for getting Marshall. Pace is being applauded for getting rid of Marshall.

In effect, the Marshall Era officially will end Tuesday as the Marshall Lesson: avoid problematic players until your clubhouse culture is strong enough to absorb them.

Jason Smith analyzed on three years ago, "If the Bears get the motivated Marshall, they'll be in the Super Bowl this season."

Well, no.

Marshall was motivated enough to catch 118 passes for 1,508 yards in 2012. The Bears did post a 10-6 record but missed the playoffs.

That season was the upside. Emery replaced Lovie Smith as head coach with Marc Trestman. The Bears plunged to 8-8 and then 5-11. Pace replaced Trestman with John Fox.

More relevant, Marshall regressed each of the next two seasons in receptions, yardage and popularity.

How far that is from what Elliot Harrison of said three years ago under the heading, "Sweet reunion for Marshall, Cutler."

"For the Bears, it's simple: Marshall is the big target they've always wanted, so they pounced. They were able to get Muhsin Muhammad a few years ago, but that never really panned out, as Muhammad was past his prime and the Bears didn't have a quarterback to take advantage anyway. Marshall is a younger, better version of Muhammad who will jump at the chance to play with Jay Cutler again."

From then to now, Marshall went from being thrilled to be reunited with Cutler to sniping at him and from being the Bears' best wide receiver in a half-century to being a pox upon Halas Hall.

The backdrop to the Bears-Dolphins trade three years ago was that Miami was trying to lure Peyton Manning to South Florida, not as a retiree but as a quarterback.

Within that context came Jason La Canfora's observation in the take on the Bears-Dolphins deal.

"Miami," he said, "might believe Marshall is a potential headache that Manning doesn't need."

Three years later Marshall had become a headache that Pace, Fox and the Bears' rebuild don't need.

The lesson is what can happen when an NFL team - actually a team in any pro sports league - operates out of weakness.

The Bears have had a weakness at wide receiver throughout the Super Bowl era, with the exceptions to the rule of Willie Gault, Dennis McKinnon and a select few others.

Add that to the Bears' recent weak drafts dictating that they gamble wildly on dubious characters like Marshall and Cutler.

If Pace is the savvy young general manager the Bears think he is, he will resist risky temptations and build the roster with players who have consistent character.

Dumping Marshall - and maybe Cutler - is an encouraging indication that's what Ryan Pace intends to do.

Let teams like the Jets try to survive with guys like that.

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