By Kevin Fishbain, Adam Jahns, Joseph Person and Jeff Howe
The Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers, team and league sources confirm Athleticism. Here’s what you need to know:
- In exchange for the first draft pick, Chicago will receive Carolina’s 2023 picks No. 9 and No. 61, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and wide receiver DJ Moore, tag team and league sources.
- The Bears had bought the No. 1 pick this offseason in part because of solid play by QB Justin Fields in the second half of 2022.
- Fields finished 2022 with 2,242 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions to go with 1,143 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He’s thrown for 12 of those touchdowns in the team’s last eight games.
- The Bears were 3-14 in 2022, while the Panthers were 7-10.
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Why did the Panthers make the trip?
After three years on the quarterback carousel with Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, they had to try something different. Owner David Tepper is a fan of making a splash, something he’s attempted to do by pursuing Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson for the past two offseasons. Also, the Panthers weren’t going to hire Frank Reich, a former NFL quarterback and QB coach, and give him someone to work with. — Person
So who are the Panthers going to play for?
The team’s party line will be that Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer will use the next seven weeks to assess which of the four big quarterbacks they want: CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis or Anthony Richardson. But league insiders believe it will be Stroud, who is taller than Young, more accurate than Richardson and more of a playmaker than Levis. Stroud showed precision at the combine last week and proved against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals that he’s not afraid to leave the pocket when needed. The Panthers passed on another quarterback from Ohio State two years ago, taking Jaycee Horn at No. 8 when Fields was available. — Person
What was the Bears’ No. 1 pick worth? A bounty from the Panthers
Assessing the Trade for Bears
It’s quite a win for Bears general manager Ryan Poles. And quite a statement to the rest of the league. Poles is rebuilding the Bears, and now he has a prime boon for that. The first choice was a tremendous resource and he knew it. Teams are always moving forward for their quarterbacks.
The Panthers now have their pick while the Poles have an extra first round in 2024 and a second in 2025 to add major plays to his roster. He also acquired a No. 1 receiver in Moore for Fields. It really is an impressive loot. — Jahn
What Moore brings to Chicago
The capital draft matters the most in the long run for the Bears, but Moore can be a big part of that deal. The Bears are getting an established, productive widening — he had 1,100 yards every season from 2019 to 21 — and he’ll be 26 next month. Moore can be an indispensable fundamental on that roster in a favored position, and that lessens the need for the Bears to devote resources to all of free agency or the draft. It’s also important for Fields to get a veteran point guard to join Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. — Fish shop
While quarterbacks Young and Stroud should be the first players selected in the next draft, the Bears, satisfied with Fields, have collected their worst record in the NFL. With the new picks, Chicago would have to expand the roster surrounding Fields or turn the picks into even more assets.
Moore, the 24th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, started 73 games during his five-year career with Carolina. Last season, he led the Panthers with 888 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
(Photo by Bears GM Ryan Poles: Matt Marton/USA Today)