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 confirmed The Athletic. Here’s what you need to know:
- In exchange for the first pick in the draft, Chicago will receive Carolina’s No. 9 and No. 61 picks in 2023, a 2024 first-rounder, a 2025 second-round pick and wide receiver DJ Moore, per team and league sources .
- The Bears acquired the No. 1 pick this offseason thanks in part to the strong play of 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 has thrown 12 of those touchdowns in the team’s last eight games.
- The Bears were 3-14 in 2022, while the Panthers were 7-10.
The Athleticcurrent user analysis:
Why did the Panthers make the move?
After three years on the quarterback merry-go-round with Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, they needed to try something different. Owner David Tepper likes to make a big splash, which he tried to do by pursuing Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson the past two offseasons. Plus, the Panthers weren’t going to hire Frank Reich, a former NFL running back and QB coach, and not give him someone to work with. — Person
So who are the Panthers fighting for?
The party line from the team will be that Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer will use the next seven weeks to evaluate which of the big four backs they want: CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis or Anthony Richardson. But league insiders believe it will be Stroud, who is bigger than Young, more accurate than Richardson and a better playmaker than Levis. Stroud put on a precision passing performance at the combine last week and proved against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals that he isn’t afraid to leave the pocket when needed. The Panthers passed on another Ohio State running back two years ago, taking Jaycee Horn at No. 8 when Fields was available. — Person
How much was the Bears’ No. 1 pick worth? Reward from Panther
Trade evaluation for the Bears
This is quite a win for Bears general manager Ryan Poles. And a good statement for the rest of the league. Poles is rebuilding the Bears, and now he’s getting a windfall for it. The first choice was a huge resource and he knew it. Teams always thrive on their quarterbacks.
The Panthers are picking them now, while the Poles have an additional first-rounder in 2024 and a second-rounder in 2025 to add major players to their roster. He also received recipient no. 1 in Moore for Fields. That’s a really impressive catch. — Jahns
What Moore brings to Chicago
Cap is the most important thing for the Bears long-term, but Moore can be a big part of this deal. The Bears are getting an established and productive wide receiver — he had 1,100 yards every season from 2019-21 — and he turns 26 next month. Moore can be a much-needed core piece to this roster at the top position, and it reduces the need for the Bears to invest resources in free agency or the draft. Getting a veteran playmaker to join Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool is also a big deal for Fields. — Fishbain
With running backs Young and Stroud expected to be the first players selected in the upcoming draft, the Bears, happy with Fields, cashed in on their worst record in the NFL. With the new picks, Chicago is expected to develop a roster surrounding Fields or shift picks into even more assets.
Moore, the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, started 73 games during his five-year career with Carolina. He led the Panthers with 888 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season.
(Photo of Bears GM Ryan Poles: Matt Marton / USA Today)