The Bears hired Phil Emery to be their general manager in January 2012. But after a rocky three-year tenure, Emery has been relieved of those duties. Here's a quick look back on the key moments of his stint as GM.
KEY COACHING MOVES
•To some, Emery's decision to fire Lovie Smith as head coach following a 10-6 season in 2012 registered as foolish, cutting ties with a coach who won 81 games over nine seasons and took the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006. But Smith's Bears missed the playoffs in five of his final six seasons, his offenses had struggled to make progress and there was a growing sense at Halas Hall that change was needed. Had Smith stuck around, he likely would have been hiring his fourth offensive coordinator since 2009.
•With Smith out, Emery's first chance to handpick a head coach resulted in the hiring of Marc Trestman, who had spent the previous five seasons with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. Trestman became the Bears' choice over fellow finalists Bruce Arians and Darrell Bevell. In retrospect, bypassing Arians for Trestman may always be a stain on Emery's resume.
•With Trestman known as an offensive savant and needing aid in putting together a staff, Emery was heavily involved in the hiring of the new defensive coordinator, picking Mel Tucker to run things. Tucker's lack of success in two seasons with the Bears is another mark against Emery.
•It's bad enough that Emery's first ever first-round pick, Shea McClellin, flopped first as a defensive end and now as a linebacker. But beyond that, the only other player from that six-man 2012 draft class that is still with the Bears is receiver Alshon Jeffery. Not even Jeffery's impressive emergence as a Pro Bowler is enough to offset the club's swings and misses on McClellin, safety Brandon Hardin, tight end Evan Rodriguez and cornerbacks Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy.
•After missing on McClellin in 2012, Emery struck gold with his next two first-round selections: offensive lineman Kyle Long in 2013 and cornerback Kyle Fuller last May. Long is headed for his second consecutive Pro Bowl and Fuller looks every bit like a guy who can be a difference-making starter for a decade or longer.
•The jury remains out on a handful of other notable draft picks from 2013 — most notably linebackers Jon Bostic (Round 2) and Khaseem Greene (Round 4) and receiver Marquess Wilson (Round 7). Jordan Mills, a 2013 fifth-rounder, started all 16 games as a rookie at right tackle.
FREE AGENCY/KEY SIGNINGS
•Emery will long be skewered for his decision to give Jay Cutler a seven-year contract extension in January 2014 rather than apply the franchise tag on the quarterback. Cutler was coming off a 2013 season in which he missed five full games and didn't finish two others due to injuries. The Bears also lost six of Cutler's final eight starts that season. Emery wanted to stabilize the team's most important position with the move but gambled on future potential over past history and lost as Cutler experienced significant struggles this season.
•If the Cutler signing is now viewed as a major mistake by Emery, Brian Urlacher's tense and unceremonious departure from the Bears was also one that never sat well with many fans and even some players. During strained contract talks in 2013, Urlacher described the one-year, $2 million deal offered by Emery as "an ultimatum" not an offer and considered the proposal "insulting" and "a slap in the face." Business is business in the NFL. But when a franchise icon walks away on bad terms, it's never a good sign.
•Emery pulled off a landmark trade on the first day of the league year in March 2012, sending two third-round picks to the Dolphins in exchange for receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall quickly emerged as arguably the franchise's all-time best at the position, recording 218 catches, 2,803 yards and 23 TDs in his first two seasons.
•Emery scored in free agency in 2013 by landing left tackle Jermon Bushrod, left guard Matt Slauson and tight end Martellus Bennett. The Bears' 2014 free-agent class, however, had as many disappointments (Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston) as clear hits (Willie Young, Ryan Mundy).