The Chicago Bears parted ways with the first overall pick in a blockbuster trade with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers were one of those quarterback-needy teams who seemed to be on the outside looking in for the top four quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. Bears General Manager, Ryan Poles, was able to orchestrate an impressive haul for the rights to the number one overall pick: securing Carolina’s ninth-overall pick in this year’s draft, their 61st overall pick (late second-rounder), Carolina’s first-round pick in the 2024 draft, Carolina’s second-round pick in the 2025 draft, and — perhaps the cherry on top — true number one wide receiver D.J. Moore.
This is exactly what the Bears needed out of this first pick. Stockpile more draft capital to give them more opportunities to plug holes throughout the roster as they continue to rebuild. Perhaps the most amazing piece is the addition of Moore, a bona fide proven receiver who’s turned chicken crap into chicken salad throughout his career by catching passes from the likes of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and P.J. Walker.
There’s a lot to unpack from this trade.
Here are 6 thoughts on the Bears Blockbuster Trade
1. D.J. Moore immediately raises the level of Bears offensive capabilities
Chase Claypool was brought in midway through last season for a second-rounder to provide some sort of spark to this offense. It’s been common practice throughout the league to pair a team’s young (read: cheap) quarterback with a talented veteran wide receiver. This can give your young quarterback the necessary confidence he needs to compete, and is also a good litmus test of whether it makes sense to build around him any further.
Unfortunately, Mapletron wasn’t much of an impact on the Bears offense, nor to Justin Fields‘ development last year. This is why Moore must’ve been a part of the trade package with the Panthers. He is a much higher-caliber player who’s proven he can be successful even with less-than-stellar quarterbacks finding him downfield. With the ninth pick, the Bears could further bolster their offensive skill set by taking a coveted high-flying receiver off the board.
In a recent episode of Barstool’s Pardon My Take, Justin Fields expressed a legitimate interest in the Bears taking his former Ohio State teammate, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, if they were to trade down from the number one pick. It’s not uncommon for teams to spend draft capital on a quarterback’s college teammates that they’ve established a real connection with. Look no further than the Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase) or Philadelphia Eagles (Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith). A Bears offense with Moore, Claypool, Darnell Mooney, and JSN would provide the ultimate litmus test to determine if Fields is the guy. And if he isn’t…
2. Having Carolina’s first-round pick next year is an escape hatch if Fields doesn’t show development
By trading this year’s number-one pick to Carolina for the spot at nine, the Bears are taking themselves out of the high-profile quarterback market in this year’s draft. That means this is a year where they can fill holes on the roster, and more truly evaluate how Fields fares as a quarterback in the National Football League. He’s a dynamic runner who has had to make plays on his feet more out of necessity than by choice.
Poles and Eberflus didn’t draft Justin Fields. This is a season where they will see whether Fields can make the leap, similar to how Jalen Hurts did last year. The Hurts comparison would be the best-case scenario. The Bears front office can feel better about building this team’s foundation, and in the event Fields isn’t the guy, the first-round pick from the Panthers should put them in a position to find a new quarterback in next year’s draft.
3. GM Ryan Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus are defensive-minded guys who should round out the front seven through the draft and free agency
The addition of Moore takes a lot of pressure off Poles and Matt Eberflus to spend a lot of draft capital or money in free agency on offensive weapons. These are defensive-minded guys who will now be in a position to find talented players along the front seven.
4. Lovie Smith should never have to buy a drink in Chicago again
You can’t quite call it a meaningless victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18 of the regular season because the repercussions sent shockwaves around the league. Lovie Smith led the dismal Houston Texans to an astonishing 32-31 win over the Colts, making them winners of the day but big-time losers in April. The win gifted the Chicago Bears with the number one overall pick in the 2023 draft and knocked the Texans back to the less coveted number two position.
The former Bears coach was thrust into a lose-lose situation as a stop-gap replacement for the Texans. He was fired shortly after the team’s season, despite having even less to work with than the Bears. Still, he went out on top and did his former team the biggest of solids by fighting hard to the end. Depending on how this draft goes, Lovie may be remembered more fondly in Chicago for leading his team to victory over the Colts in 2022, than for leading a Bears team to the Super Bowl against the Colts in 2007. Every bar in Chicago should have a drink ready for him when he walks in.
5. Credit to Ryan Poles for orchestrating this trade
If we’re giving credit to former Bears head coaches for improving our draft stock, we need to give out the ultimate kudos to the young General Manager for orchestrating the blockbuster trade.
Poles went from Bears practice squad player to working his way up the Kansas City Chiefs front office. He started as a scout, and over the course of thirteen years became their Executive Director of Player Personnel. Now, he’s starting his second year on the job of trying to rebuild this once proud franchise into the type of perennial contender his former employer was.
It’s impressive how deftly he played his hand in dealing the first overall pick. If you don’t believe me, then listen to Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler, who was very impressed with the value Poles was able to get out of this pick.
6. We’re One Aaron Rodgers decision away from this being the best offseason ever for the Bears
Bears fans are now one ESPN alert away from this being the best off-season in recent memory for them. If and when it’s announced Rodgers is leaving the NFC North, Bears fans will really have something to celebrate.
If you haven’t heard, now is the time to jump on the Bears’ bandwagon.
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