LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – As Bears general manager Ryan Poles evaluated the offers on the table for the team’s No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, he recognized that only one deal would immediately provide third-year quarterback Justin Fields with a dynamic wide receiver.
That offer was from the Panthers, with whom the Bears reached a deal last Friday afternoon, sending the No. 1 pick to Carolina in exchange for the No. 9 pick, a 2024 first-round pick, a pair of second-round selections and star receiver D.J. Moore.
“I was over the moon about that,” Poles said Thursday of acquiring Moore.
The Panthers weren’t actively seeking to trade the 25-year-old Moore, and his inclusion in the deal came at the demands of Poles, a source said.
Moore hauled in 364 receptions for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns over five seasons with the Panthers. To put his production in perspective, Moore’s career receptions total would be third on the Bears’ all-time leaderboard and his receiving yardage would be the most in franchise history. Moore had at least 1,157 receiving yards each season from 2019-’21 and proved to be a game-changing presence for the Panthers despite their quarterback carousel during his tenure in Carolina.
With the acquisition of Moore, the Bears are counting on more production from Fields in the passing game after the team ranked dead last in the NFL with 130.5 net passing yards per game in 2022. They also believe Moore can help open up more opportunities for fellow receivers Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool.
“It’s just going to elevate the offense and elevate Justin (Fields) at the same time,” Moore said.
It’s unclear which teams were competing with the Panthers to trade with the Bears for the No. 1 overall pick, though the Texans and Colts were believed to be potential suitors.
Poles was willing to explore trade offers for the No. 1 pick all the way up to the start of the NFL Draft on April 27 in Kansas City, but he found enticing packages were already being presented, so he acted. The Bears had a trade package they were ready to accept a few days before they agreed with the Panthers, but that one fell through, Poles said without offering any more specifics.
“Both teams got what they wanted out of the deal, and we both continued to get better,” Poles said. “With that, to add capital this year in the draft as well as the future and set ourselves up with two 1s in '24, I couldn't be happier about that. But then when you add a player like D.J. Moore, who can help us right now get better.
“He fits our culture and what we're trying to do and keeps that room and our team and our locker room in a really good place.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.