How Panthers, Bears strategy changes after No. 1 pick trade

One of the pressing questions of the early NFL offseason was answered emphatically on Friday, when the Chicago Bears dealt the Carolina Panthers, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, for a package including wide receiver DJ Moore, two first-round picks ( 2023 and 2024) and two elections for the second round (2023 and 2025).

The move marked the first time since 2016, when the Los Angeles Rams went on to select quarterback Jared Goff, that the No. 1 pick was dealt before draft day.

The move resets the draft strategy for both teams and could dramatically change the landscape for quarterback-hungry teams selecting in the top 10. -225 according to the Kaiser Sportsbook) and former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (+175).

NFL reporters David Newton and Courtney Cronin present the details on what the megadeal could mean for both Carolina and Chicago in the April 27-29 draft and beyond.

What does this deal mean for the Panthers?

That means Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud or Kentucky’s Will Lewis will be Carolina’s starting quarterback at some point in 2023, maybe even Week 1. With direct knowledge of trade talks, going with Florida’s Anthony Richardson will be a tough sell, treated more as a project.

But having control over the top selection will give general manager Scott Fitter and coach Frank Reich their favorite quarterbacks to work with, along with Reich’s staff, senior assistant Jim Caldwell and first-year quarterbacks coach Josh McCown.

The early No. 1 favorites are Young and Stroud, both of whom impressed the Carolina staff most at the NFL combine, especially Young.

“He’s just kind of cold, whose only real drawback is size (5-foot-10, 204 pounds),” Fitter said of the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner. “Nothing is too big for him.”

A quarterback working a rookie deal would give Carolina room to continue building out the rest of its roster. A veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo or Sam Darnold could also be added if the money is right, although there is a chance the midlevel quarterback market could be too steep for the Panthers’ liking.

The pick should also energize a fan base that has grown weary with three years of retrades, including Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield. It gives the organization hope that it has the player who can scale (and eventually exceed) the same heights as Cam Newton, the top pick of the 2011 draft who won 2015 NFL MVP honors and led Carolina to the Super Bowl. Went.

Look for the Panthers to be active at wide receiver in free agency given Moore’s departure. A source with direct knowledge of the trade talks said the team was not thrilled about losing Moore, but surrendering him prevented Carolina from sending an additional first-round pick to the Bears. Carolina could also look to upgrade the tight end position to assist their potential new quarterback. The Panthers haven’t had a tight end since Greg Olsen in 2019.

The bottom line is that the franchise quarterback that owner David Tepper has desired since purchasing the team in 2018 finally has within his grasp.

–David Newton



Damian Woody calls Bears’ race for No. 1 pick a ‘slam dunk’

Damian Woody explains why the Bears did an excellent job with Miley Howell for the No. 1 pick.

What does this deal mean for the Bears?

Dealing the draft’s top pick reaffirms Chicago’s faith in quarterback Justin Fields, who doesn’t have to wonder if the Bears will take one of the bright QB prospects with the No. 1 pick. This has been accompanied by second year general manager Ryan Poles saying that Fields has displayed enough improvement in his second year to be considered a potential franchise quarterback.

And this trade allows Poles and coach Matt Eberflus to upgrade the talent level around the fields.

Acquiring wide receiver DJ Moore, who turns 26 on April 14, improves Chicago’s receiving corps. Moore, Carolina’s first-round pick in 2018 and the No. 24 overall selection, finished his time with the Panthers as the fourth-leading receiver in franchise history. In six seasons, he amassed 5,201 yards on 364 receptions and scored 21 touchdowns. He put together three 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 2019 to ’21 and posted a career-high seven touchdowns last season.

Those numbers are better than those of the top wide receivers available in free agency, a group highlighted by New England’s Jakoby Meyers and Kansas City’s JuJu Smith-Schuster. Adding a receiver in a year when the depth in free agency and the draft isn’t great was a strong move, especially considering the Bears’ current WR group of Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimius St. Brown and Wallace Jones Jr.

Chicago now has four selections in the top 64 and 10 overall draft picks. The Bears could still get a high-impact player with the ninth overall selection, but the prospect of adding the draft’s top defensive prospect feels out of reach. Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson didn’t make Arizona the No. 3 pick in ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShea’s most recent mock draft.

It’s possible the Bears will consider drafting Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter at No. 9 to fill a critical need with their interior pass rush, but the position around Carter – who was recently drafted Was considered top player – unclear after he was charged on March 1 with reckless driving and speeding in connection with a crash that killed a Georgia teammate and recruiting staff member.

With needs up front on offense and defense, Chicago could look to Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronsky. McChey traded the Bears twice and took Skoronski with the No. 7 pick. If Skoronski comes in at No. 9, he could be another player to help Fields develop.

There’s a considerable difference between its second-round pick at No. 9 in Chicago and the No. 53 pick it acquired from Baltimore last November after trading linebacker Roquan Smith. The Bears had their second-round pick (No. 32) go to Pittsburgh in the Claypool trade.

Finding a way to create a 44-pick gap could be Polus’ next challenge.

– Courtney Cronin

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