Talk about a late Friday shocker.
The Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers on Friday afternoon in exchange for the No. 9 and No. 61 overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025 and wide receiver DJ Moore.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles told CHGO Sports in Indianapolis during the NFL Scouting Combine that “it wouldn’t be too far” after the Combine that a trade would happen for the No. 1 overall pick.
Just six days after the final on-field workouts on March 4, Poles found his ideal trade partner with the Panthers with free agency slated to start next week.
Here are our initial thoughts on the trade!
I left the NFL Combine feeling like Ryan Poles’ preference was to move the No. 1 pick before free agency, and I also felt like he was strongly interested in adding a veteran in the trade. The Bears’ GM accomplished both Friday, and still managed to grab the Panthers’ first round pick in 2024 and second round pick in 2025. I’m not saying DJ Moore is on the same level as Stefon Diggs, but there’s a parallel with the Bills trading for Diggs as Josh Allen entered Year 3 of his career. It was a huge reason why Allen made the improvements he did in 2020. The Bills had to trade a first round pick for Diggs, while Poles received a future first round pick in addition to Moore. It’s quite a haul. The only remaining disappointment remains the gap between the Bears’ No. 9 and No. 53 overall picks, but they do have four picks in the top 64 now. Also, it’s still possible for the Bears to trade back again on draft night.
Ryan Poles knew how much the No. 1 overall pick was worth and got an absolute haul from the Panthers after trading it. The three additional picks are great, especially for a Bears team that has so many vacant positions. But acquiring DJ Moore solidifies Poles’ belief that Justin Fields must be surrounded by capable playmakers. That is exactly what Moore has been since he entered the league as the No. 24 overall pick in 2018. Now Fields has a veteran wide receiver to help elevate the third-year quarterback in the passing game. Bears fans should be ecstatic about Moore alone. And still having a pick inside the top-10 will allow Chicago to draft an instant contributor if Poles decides to keep that pick. The Bears got better today and there are still plenty of moves to be made.
Build the Ryan Poles statue now? 2023 GM of the year? Ok, I might have to settle down a drop but for Poles to make a bold move before free agency, add a top 20 Wide Receiver, get a first round draft pick for next year along with the 9 pick you have to applaud the logic he is using. Poles is doing his absolute best to give Justin Fields his best chance to break out in year 3 and also set the Bears up for long term success with multiple picks. You would have loved a 2025 first round pick as well but getting DJ Moore makes the price worth it. And, if the Panthers don’t hit on their QB that pick could linger at the top of the 2nd round. Plus next year’s pick could be in the top 10. On second thought, build the Poles statue after all.
Let’s go! The selection of picks that Poles got back for the No. 1 spot is exciting, particularly if the CJ Stroud or Bryce Young can’t help Carolina get off the mat this year and the Bears end up with a top 5 pick in 2024. But I also love that we’re getting a proven player in DJ Moore that will be a difference maker from Day 1. The arrival of the top receiver gives Fields a potent arsenal that will eliminate any excuses and gives the Bears the freedom to focus on another area of need like offensive or defensive line with the No. 9 pick or on the free agent market. The pieces are starting to fall into place and it is an unbelievably exciting time to be a Bears fan.