With Friday’s trade, Bears general manager Ryan Poles elevated himself to a new league.
He’s now a serious player at the NFL’s highest level, and anyone who believes there aren’t more deals coming probably isn’t paying attention.
Multiple reports indicate Poles will send the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft to the Carolina Panthers. In exchange, the Bears will receive the No. 9 overall pick and the No. 61 overall pick in this year’s draft, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025 and Panthers star wide receiver D.J. Moore.
The Panthers drafted Moore 24th overall in 2018. The Maryland alum already has five years in the league and won’t turn 26 until this season. Moore signed a contract extension prior to the 2022 season, meaning he comes to Chicago with three years remaining on his deal.
[ Who is new Chicago Bears WR D.J. Moore? ]
No one is going to argue Poles got anything less than a king’s ransom in getting three first-round picks – Moore has more than played up to his first-round status – and two second-round choices for the No. 1 overall pick.
Although Poles is likely to add more talent at wide receiver this offseason, he can now focus on defensive and offensive linemen, safety, tight end and linebacker and not worry about being left shorthanded among his pass catchers.
Although the team has needs almost everywhere, there is little doubt a big-time pass rusher or two is their greatest need. With the uncertainty surrounding top prospect Jalen Carter likely to last well into the beginning of the draft, there is an excellent chance the one, two or all three of the top prospects will still be available when the Bears are on the clock at No. 9.
With the No. 9, 55 and 61 picks in the first two rounds – as well as No. 65 in the third round and two picks in each the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds – Poles also has a wealth of assets to move back up or trade down again and add more quality pieces.
Finally, there is the most important part of the story: neither the Bears or the Panthers are going to complete their rebuilds this season.
And, with two first-round selections next season – both likely to be top 10 picks – and two second-round picks in 2025, if Justin Fields doesn’t become what the team hopes by the end of this season, they have more than enough capital to make a deal to find a top quarterback prospect next year for less than the Panthers just paid to take the No. 1 pick off the Bears’ hands.
Nothing is perfect or guaranteed when it comes to the draft, free agency or trades. One legitimate concern is that Moore is coming off his least productive season since his rookie year after excellent from 2019-21. But it wasn’t exactly an off year either, and Moore has been extremely healthy. He has missed just two games in five seasons, including none last year.
There is obviously a great deal more to come and the next couple months are going to be big fun for Bears fans.
Poles got himself off to an excellent start Friday with a deal that gives everyone reason to be excited to see what he does next.