NFL Draft: The biggest pros and cons of the Panthers-Bears blockbuster trade

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The 2023 NFL Draft is 48 days away, but perhaps the biggest trade has already happened: The Chicago Bears sent the No. 1 pick, the No. 9 pick, the No. 61 pick to the Carolina Panthers for wide receiver DJ Moore. , 2024 first round pick and 2025 second round pick.

The move will have far-reaching implications and could completely change the trajectory the two franchises searching for a new identity.

On one side are the Bears, who enter a pivotal third season with Justin Fields in the middle and general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus in their second season at the helm. The move allowed Poles to reshape the roster in his own image and fill huge positional gaps in the roster.

And on the other end is the Panthers, Team with expensive new coaching staff Led by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich. The franchise has been in quarterback purgatory since the departure Cam Newton in 2020. It appears that general manager Scott Fitter left a lot to be desired when addressing the team’s quarterback question, but at least a solution is in sight after four years of obscurity and stop-gaps. Option.

Frank Reich and the Carolina Panthers own the No. 1 NFL Draft pick. (AP Photo/Daren Cummings)

why did the bear do this

The trade gives Chicago an extra early round pick in each the next three drafts, which is huge for a team with a young quarterback and lots of holes. This year, the Bears now have two second-round picks even though the team traded them to the Pittsburgh Steelers for receiver Chase Claypool – Nos. 53 (after the Roquan Smith trade) and 61. Chicago’s No. 64 pick opens the third round. ,

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Those three picks and the No. 9 selection could do a lot damage to the polls.

Acquiring a standout wideout in Moore is probably the most underrated aspect this trade. Moore will be 26 by the start of the season and will tally at least 1,100 receiving yards from 2019-21 with quarterbacks like Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, PJ Walker and a declining Newton. In 2022, he caught a career-high seven touchdowns for 888 yards with Walker, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield under center. Moore’s contract is also highly flexible after this season: he comes with a $20.1 million salary cap hit in 2023 but only $1.1 million is guaranteed over the final two years, per over the cap,

The Bears have enough cap space to absorb Moore’s salary and still lead the league with nearly $70 million in effective salary cap (which includes expected rookie signings), per over the cap, Moore, Claypool, fellow wideout Darnell Mooney, tight end Cole Kemet and running back Khalil Herbert have a solid young core to work with, with Fields and cap space allowing Poles to bolster the defense and offensive line with veterans in free agency. Will give

Ryan Polas took his biggest step yet as general manager of the Chicago Bears.  (Brian Casella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Ryan Polas took his biggest step yet as general manager the Chicago Bears on Friday. (Brian Casella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

why bears may regret it

The only real the trade for Chicago is that the Bears moved all the way back to No. 9. Yes, Chicago will still get a top-10 player, but the team could miss out on some great defensive prospects who might not fall that far down the board. Pass rushers like Will Anderson and Tyree Wilson and defensive tackle Jalen Carter are all projected to go in the top five of Charles McDonald’s last mock draft.

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Depending on how the board falls, or catching offensive linemen, Chicago may have to settle for the third or fourth best defensive player. Options include edge rusher Nolan Smith, Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez, Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson or Oklahoma offensive tackle Antawn Harrison.

Still, the Bears put themselves in a very good position for the next month and at least the next year as well.

why did the panthers do this

Carolina will likely aim to draft their quarterback the future, Although many reports Indicate that the Panthers may still be retreating If they like more than one passerby. Either way, options for Fitter and Reich — Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Lewis — are all on the table.

There is something to be said about clarity at the most important position in football, especially after years options under center.

The next Panthers quarterback will work with an incredibly experienced staff that includes two former NFL quarterbacks — Reich and QB coach Josh McCown — as well as a two-time former head coach in offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, a Sean McVay disciple, and senior assistant Jim Caldwell. ,

Getting “their guy” under center is the biggest positive, but two more less important aspects of the trade that will help the Panthers’ rebuilding efforts include getting Moore’s contract off the books and the team’s 2023 second-round selection. to include. Carolina would have about $14 million in effective salary cap space — barring other veteran cuts — with Moore and could still grab a potential starter with the No. 39 pick. All of this is possible because of the trade of Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2022 season — the Panthers sent the 49ers’ No. 61 pick to the Bears in the deal and still have four more picks in rounds 3-5.

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why the panthers may regret it

Carolina then has an empty cabinet and trades McCaffrey.

The Panthers’ receiving core after Moore went bad: Terrence Marshall Jr. (45 career receptions, one touchdown), Laviska Chenault (148 career receptions, six touchdowns) and Shi Smith (28 receptions, two touchdowns).

Leading rusher D’Onta Foreman is a pending free agent and Chuba Hubbard has been hit-or-miss in his career. Tight ends Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas combined for 35 receptions, 502 yards and three touchdowns last season.

That’s not a lot for a rookie quarterback to work with. The Panthers will need to add a lot of pieces in free agency and the draft – something that will be tough to do with fewer draft picks over the next few years. The Panthers only have two top-100 picks in this year’s draft after No. 1.

While the price of moving up eight spots for the No. 1 pick since 1990 wasn’t necessarily as much as the six other trades, it was still a lot. The Los Angeles Rams sent two seconds, two thirds and a future first to the Tennessee Titans to go from No. 15 to No. 1 in 2016, while the Panthers only sent their own No. 9 pick, two seconds, a future first and a second pick. a receiver (who they were shopping for a first rounder at the 2022 trade deadline).

Carolina better hope that whichever quarterback they pick is the right one to save their franchise.