The Chicago Bears are trading the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a package that includes multiple first-round picks, star wide receiver D.J. Moore, and a pair of second-round selections, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
In addition to Moore, Chicago will receive the Nos. 9 and 61 picks in this year’s draft, as well as Carolina’s first-round selection in 2024 and its second-round choice in 2025, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
This is the first time the No. 1 selection in the NFL draft has been traded since the then-St. Louis Rams moved up to select Jared Goff in 2016. Carolina’s previous first overall selection came in 2011 when it added Cam Newton.
The Panthers kicked off a new era this offseason after hiring Frank Reich as head coach. Reich, whom the Indianapolis Colts fired midway through last season, played quarterback for Carolina before becoming a coach.
With the No. 1 pick, the Panthers will likely draft a QB to address their biggest issue in recent years. Carolina started three different signal-callers in 2022: Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and P.J. Walker, who’s the only one who remains under contract. The Panthers also roster 2022 third-round passer Matt Corral.
Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson are regarded as the top signal-callers in this year’s draft. The Panthers would still consider trading down in the 2023 draft should they “fall in love” with more than one quarterback prospect, according to ESPN’s David Newton.
Carolina still owns a second-round pick in 2023 (No. 39 overall). The club had multiple second-round picks in 2023 after adding draft capital in the trade that sent running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers last year.
Meanwhile, the move secures Justin Fields’ role as the Bears’ starting quarterback for 2023 and puts Chicago in a prime position to boost one of the league’s weakest rosters. Fields improved in his second NFL season last year, rushing for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games. However, he wasn’t able to translate that success into wins, as Chicago went 3-14.
The Bears now hope Fields can also break out as a passer with Moore joining the mix. The 24-year-old quarterback completed 60.4% of his passes for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns against 11 interceptions last season.
Moore instantly becomes Chicago’s top target. The 25-year-old, who caught 63 passes for 888 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022, has topped 1,000 receiving yards in a season three times since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2018. He’s still under contract for three more seasons after inking a three-year, $61.9-million extension in March 2022.
Adding to the Bears’ receiving corps has been a priority for general manager Ryan Poles since he was named to the role in January 2022. He also traded for former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool in November.
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