We knew the Bears were likely to trade the No. 1 pick, but nobody expected it to happen this soon, acquiring two first-rounders (2023 and 2024), two second-rounders (2023 and 2025) and D.J. Moore from the Panthers in a deal announced Friday afternoon. With the Bears already committed to Justin Fields, GM Ryan Poles successfully leveraged Carolina’s desperation for a quarterback into a bounty of picks that, if used wisely, should jumpstart Chicago’s rebuild after bottoming out with a league-worst 3-14 record. A former first-round pick with a proven track record (three career 1,000-yard seasons), Moore immediately becomes the Bears’ best receiver, bolstering an anemic pass-catching corps that combined for just 2,598 yards last season (dead-last out of 32 teams).
This would seem to take the Panthers out of the running for Lamar Jackson, Jimmy Garoppolo or any other quarterback that could be available this offseason, leaving Carolina to choose between Heisman winner Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud or even Anthony Richardson, whose stock has risen exponentially in wake of his dominant performance at last week’s NFL Combine.
After months of shopping the No. 1 pick to anyone who would listen, the Bears finally pulled the trigger, but should they have? Social media offered no clear consensus with fans and pundits torn on whether the Bears got enough in return or settled for less than they could have, rushing a decision that didn’t need to be made for another month.
Bears fans who had dreamed of adding a difference-maker like Will Anderson or Jalen Carter will surely be disappointed with little chance of either falling to the No. 9 pick. While some would argue Chicago overplayed its hand, others were complementary of the Bears’ draft haul along with Moore, a hidden gem who can help Fields—after years of relying on his legs—unlock his true potential as a passer.
Snap judgments like these are relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things, though it certainly adds a layer of intrigue to April’s draft, creating a scenario where we could see quarterbacks drafted with each of the first four picks (Young, Stroud, Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis). Friday’s blockbuster may have been the first domino to fall but it won’t be the last with the Cardinals expected to “auction off” their No. 3 pick to the highest bidder.
And to think, none of this would have happened if Lovie Smith had called off the dogs, running out the clock on the Texans’ season instead of inexplicably going for the win against Indianapolis, which allowed Chicago (Smith’s former team, ironically enough) to luck into the No. 1 pick.