Bears seize the moment, pull off potential franchise-altering trade
Following a year of tearing down to the studs, setting forth on a blueprint to rebuild and those wonders of what would come next, the Bears and general manager Ryan Poles can look towards the future with clarity and great hope.
Poles recognized the opportunity in hand with the No. 1 overall pick and the luxury of having a rising star at quarterback, and he capitalized with a deal that could set forth the Bears towards the type of sustained success he envisioned.
The Bears dealt the top overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Panthers in exchange for a major haul that includes the No. 9 selection, a 2024 first-round pick, a pair of second-round slots and star wide receiver D.J. Moore.
The deal between the Bears and the Panthers, which was confirmed by multiple sources, comes on Friday night and just prior to the start of NFL free agency beginning with open negotiations permitted Monday at 11 a.m. CT – when Poles can begin work with more than $75 million in salary cap space (a figure adjusted following the addition of Moore).
Poles played everything about this process right, building a bidding market for this trade last week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and creating urgency between those teams seeking to jump the line to select the first quarterback in this NFL Draft. The Bears not only found benefit by tightening the window for these negotiations, they now can look towards the open market with a clearer picture of their roster.
The Bears seized that opportunity when the Panthers made an offer they simply couldn’t refuse – a deal so lucrative that there wasn’t any point in delaying these negotiations into late March or April. Carolina wanted its place at the top of the draft and came calling with the prerequisite of two first-round picks and draft capital that can allow Poles and his brass the chance for lasting success. But what made this trade so enticing was the addition of Moore.
Moore’s 364 receptions over the last five seasons would make him third on the Bears’ all-time receptions leaderboard, trailing only Walter Payton and Matt Forte. His 5,202 receiving yards would be most in franchise history. And he’s only 25 years old arriving to Chicago.
By acquiring Moore, the Bears boldly invested in the future of Justin Fields at quarterback and took advantage of the nature in these negotiations. Moore is a proven No. 1 wide receiver who immediately transforms Chicago’s offense and offers the 24-year-old Fields a better opportunity to flourish as Poles has imagined.
Fields’ bright future is why Poles and the Bears believed they were better suited trading down from the No. 1 overall pick rather than selecting Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud at the top of this draft. It just so happened that Chicago landed with the first selection of a draft that’s deep and intriguing in quarterback options, with perhaps a dozen teams seeking solutions at that position.
Poles was in a position of power with the top pick in his hand and struck a deal that offers the Bears such hope ahead.
The Bears are now have more palpable promise for the future to come.