Bears doubled their investment in Justin Fields in reported deal with Panthers for No. 1 NFL draft pick

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It’s never easy to know whether you should take the head coach and general manager at their respective word, especially after a disappointing season.

And if they have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, all bets are off.

It turns out that in the weeks after the Chicago Bears ended last season, and head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles were asked about quarterback Justin Fields, they were talking about Wasn’ just blowing smoke. “big step” They Took Last Season – And That’s Fields “on the right track” And you need to focus on making small improvements and adjustments in your game.

They truly believe in Fields’ ability to lead the Bears, and they are committed to making sure he has everything he needs to do it.

Bears QB Justin Fields took a lot of punishment in the 2022 season. (Jamie Sabau / USA Sports)

On Friday night, Chicago reportedly traded the top pick in next month’s draft to the Carolina Panthers, moving up from the No. 9 spot, receiving the Panthers’ first and second-round picks this year A first round pick and a second rounder in 2025.

As if that weren’ enough, the Bears also acquired a top receiver, DJ Moore. Panthers beat reporter Joe Person Moore, a first-round pick in 2018 who had 72 catches and over 1,000 receiving yards in a season with Carolina (despite playing with 11 starting quarterbacks at the time), became a “must have” for Chicago in the deal. was considered.

Moore managed 63 receptions and a career-high seven touchdowns last season while playing with a trio without a quarterback. This was far more production than Darnell Mooney, the Bears’ top receiver. He had just 40 catches, with tight end Cole Kemet’s 50 leading the team. The wide receivers on Chicago’s roster last season combined for 121 catches, worst in the league.

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Moore had already signed an extension with the Panthers, and is currently under contract through 2025.

Even better, Chicago made this trade before free agency officially began on Wednesday, which means it can be even more strategic about the players it chooses to mix veterans with youth to become core members of the team. expect to become. At Moore’s base salary of $19.9 million for 2023, the Bears still have a league-best $75 million in salary-cap space, though surely some of that will go to their draft class.

Fields was sacked 55 times last season, most in the NFL, so help is needed on the offensive line. But the team that had the first pick in the draft has a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Bears had only 20 sacks and 43 quarterback hits in 2022 since they traded for Pro Bowl linebacker Roquan Smith in November. The Bears did not have any professional bowlers on their roster.

There are rumors that the Arizona Cardinals could trade DeAndre Hopkins, which would add another strong receiver to the mix. Veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner is a free agent, and he is one of the most respected leaders in the league. There are some solid offensive linemen available, including rising right tackle Jawan Taylor, who is just 25 years old and started every game in his first four seasons with Jacksonville.

It’s been a rough decade for Bears fans since letting go of Lovie Smith: four head coaches, three general managers, only post-season appearances and a lot of indifferent quarterback play. Smith led Chicago to its final Super Bowl appearance in the 2006 season, and According To Some fan, he entitled Also credit for Friday’s run: The Bears got the No. 1 pick after Smith’s Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18, which set the stage for this trade.

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With a new head coach and new offensive coordinator in Luke Gatsey for his second season, Fields began to blossom and had some terrific moments and plays – despite no help from his line or receivers.

They say, “Bloom where you are planted,” and Fields did just that in less-than-fertile soil.

certainly growing to do, and it would be easier with Chicago clearly committing to their rising young star and building a team around him that will hopefully play to his strengths and Will bring back the excitement to a proud franchise that has been struggling. Find its base by years.