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March 11, 2023 11:40 am CT

The Chicago Bears executed a blockbuster trade for the No. 1 pick with the Carolina Panthers, where they landed an absolute haul that included two first-round picks, two second-round picks and wide receiver DJ Moore.

For general manager Ryan Poles, it was a home run move that puts his team in a position to make strides heading into the 2023 season. He landed a true No. 1 wide receiver — who’s still 25 — for quarterback Justin Fields, which should help his development in Year 3.

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In getting a trade done before free agency, Poles can now address some big needs in the trenches in free agency. Even after the Moore acquisition, Chicago still has $75 million in salary cap space, the most in the NFL.

Here’s a collection of all of the grades for the Bears’ trade of the No. 1 pick, where experts applauded the move for Chicago.


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ESPN’s Seth Walder was the only one to give the Bears less than an “A” grade in this trade. Although, Walder also thought the Bears should’ve traded Fields and used the top pick on a quarterback.

In a single trade, the Bears accelerated their roster turnaround and will be able to help quarterback Justin Fields. Credit general manager Ryan Poles for being willing to trade down all the way to No. 9 to gain extra value. Too often teams end up getting married to where they are slotted and not wanting to deviate far from that spot. Once Chicago elected to stick with Fields, it wasn’t going to use the No. 1 overall pick on a non-QB. Thus, the Bears walked away with far, far more out of this deal than the No. 1 pick was worth to them. And the approximate yield of an extra sixth overall pick is assuming Carolina’s future picks are in the middle of its respective rounds. In reality, the Panthers are going to have a rookie QB, which means the chances of their season going sideways and ending up with one of the top picks in the 2024 NFL draft is significant.

I also really like that the Bears were able to pry Moore from the Panthers. He is on a value contract for the Bears now. From Chicago’s perspective, it’s a three-year, $52.3 million deal with only the first year guaranteed, per ESPN’s Roster Management System. And he fills a crucial need, one that was not going to be easily filled in free agency given the weak receiver class.

Pro Football Focus: A-

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Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger thought this was a “home run” trade for the Bears and Poles.

We know Justin Fields can connect on the deep bombs, and we know he can take off with his legs when his pocket breaks down. But to take his game to the next level, he has to become a consistent intermediate passer. Enter D.J. Moore.

Among 32 quarterbacks with at least 50 intermediate pass attempts (passes thrown 10-19 yards downfield) in 2022, Fields led the way with a 66.7% completion rate and ranked 13th in accuracy percentage per PFF charting. However, he didn’t attack there often enough, partly due to his pass-catchers.

From 2019 to 2022, D.J. Moore saw 172 intermediate targets, the second-most in the NFL. And while Fields still has room to grow as a passer, it’s not like Moore was working with much at quarterback over that span. The timing is also perfect, as Moore is just 25 years old and signed a new contract last offseason, with Chicago inheriting a three-year, $52.265 million deal.

In addition to getting their young quarterback a No. 1 option at a good value, the Bears also land two first-round and two second-round picks, which they can utilize to overhaul the rest of their roster, particularly in the trenches where help is sorely needed on both sides of the ball.

The 2024 first-round pick from Carolina could land in the top 10 again, given the current state of the Panthers roster and the volatility that comes with playing a rookie quarterback.

Overall, this was a home run by general manager Ryan Poles.

CBS Sports: A-

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CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso doesn’t believe the Bears fleeced the Panthers. But he recognizes that they got quite a haul to help build around Fields.

Let’s work backwards from the player to the collection of picks. Moore is a darn good wideout — I can’t stress that enough. After a strong rookie season in 2018, he went over 1,000 yards three-consecutive seasons with a litany of mediocre-at-their-absolute-best passers. Most recently, in 2022, he managed 888 yards receiving and set a career high in touchdowns with seven. Moore got targets from Mayfield, Darnold, P.J. Walker and even Jacob Eason last year. Yikes.

Going a step beyond Moore’s classic statistics, he’s proven he can be a YAC menace and only turns 26 in April. He had more than 12 missed tackles forced in each of his first three seasons in Carolina. He hasn’t been quite as elusive the last two seasons, but at his age and with his athletic profile, he can play to the YAC standard he set from 2018 to 2020, with the Bears.

Now to the draft-pick package. Based on our in-house draft trade chart, created by our very own football brainiac R.J. White, the Bears’ No. 1 pick was worth at least 900 points. The pick portion of this trade they acquired equates to roughly 700 to 715 points. As for Moore, White said the WR’s trade value is between the 15th overall pick (286.72 points) and the 28th overall pick (187.02 points). Average those together and add the value of the draft picks, and you get between 935-950 points. So basically dead even. Or darn close.

Did the Bears rake the Panthers over the coals? No. But they acquired two firsts, two seconds and a ready-to-go WR1 who will instantly boost Justin Fields’ productivity. Win.

Sporting News: A+

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Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer applauded the timing of the trade, as well as the compensation for Chicago, especially Moore.

The Bears took full advantage of being the worst team in the league record-wise while already having a promising young QB on his rookie contract. GM Ryan Poles got an offer he couldn’t refuse to just drop eight spots and get the type of offensive or defensive prospect his team needed most, anyway.

Chicago somehow doubled up on first- and second-rounders and still got a lot more — in Moore. Moore, a reliable route-runner with big-play moxie, will immediately serve as the Bears’ top wide receiver for Fields. He makes Darnell Mooney a dangerous No. 2. Along with former Steeler Chase Claypool in the big slot role and Cole Kmet at tight end, the Bears’ primary passing game weapons suddenly look a lot better.

The Bears now can focus most on holes up front, either to upgrade their pass protection for Fields or rebuild their edge pass rush. No. 9 will still allow them to do that with an elite talent.

Chicago also has clear direction for what to do in NFL free agency, where the organization is sitting on a ton of salary-cap space, even with adding Moore to the mix. On top of everything else, the timing was ideal for the Bears, too.

Sports Illustrated: A-

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Sports Illustrated’s Matt Verderame believes the Bears put themselves in a good position moving forward. Either they have future picks to use to build around Fields or they have insurance should Fields not pan out.

The Bears now have an opportunity to revamp a franchise in desperate need of a makeover. Chicago is armed with multiple first-round picks in 2024, along with three top-65 picks in ’25. The Bears also get a legitimate top-end receiver in D.J. Moore, who has posted three 1,000-yard seasons over five years in Carolina despite poor quarterback play.

In Chicago, Moore will be a significant upgrade. Third-year quarterback Justin Fields will now have a game-breaker on the outside, opening up offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme.

While Moore comes with a sizable contract of three remaining years and $52.2 million, Chicago has more cap space than any other team. Additionally, the free-agent market for receivers is weak, with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jakobi Meyers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Lazard being the best options. Moore is clearly a better player than any of the aforementioned, and on a reasonable deal.

Lastly, if Fields doesn’t play well in ’23, the Bears now have two first-round picks in a class which includes USC’s Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye as potential replacements. Both are considered elite prospects. Bears GM Ryan Poles is now armed with ample ammunition to make a move if needed.

For The Win: A

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For The Win’s Robert Zeglinski was almost left speechless by the haul that Poles got for the No. 1 pick, including draft capital and Moore.

There goes all the talk that the Bears should trade Justin Fields to reset the rookie QB contract clock, huh? It’s gone in an instant.

What a haul. I’m almost (keyword: almost) speechless.

Let’s do the math.

Chicago stays in the 2023 top 10, gets a 2024 first-rounder from a rebuilding Panthers squad (which could be another top-10 pick), and brings a legitimate 25-year-old star receiver in D.J. Moore for Justin Fields. GM Ryan Poles had talked about rebuilding Chicago the right way while building around Fields and giving him a chance.

The executive has fulfilled his promise by nabbing multiple first and second-round draft picks, along with an elite playmaker for his young signal-caller. Friday afternoon was undoubtedly a jumpstart to what could be a very fruitful Bears era for Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus, and Fields.

The Ringer: Winners

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The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz believes Bears fans should consider this trade a W.

Not only did Chicago add to its cache of picks, but it also filled the biggest need on the roster by acquiring Moore ahead of free agency. Moore is better than any receiver set to become a free agent next week, and Chicago’s GM didn’t have to pay that free agency premium to acquire him. Moore’s average annual salary now ranks 10th at the position, right ahead of the aging Keenan Allen. Now, Chicago still has some work to do on its receiver room, but the extra draft capital will aid that process, and it can now focus on other positions of need when free agency kicks off next week.

Bears GM Ryan Poles probably could have held out a little longer and tried to drive up the price, but I’m not sure they could have found a better deal. This one allows them to stay in the top 10 this year while also adding a talented player at a premium position.

Bears Wire: A+

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Bears Wire’s Brendan Sugrue believes the draft picks plus a top tier wide receiver in Moore push this trade to an A+ for Chicago.

Had the Bears simply gotten the picks for the No. 1 spot in the draft, the deal would still grade out a solid A. They would have gotten what was expected and have the chance to find impact players via the draft alone. But the move for Moore bumps this up to an A+. He’s a proven commodity and worth the Bears getting a 2025 second-round pick instead of a first. This is huge for the future of this franchise.

Bleacher Report: Winners

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Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport counts the Bears as winners in this trade, specifically quarterback Justin Fields, who gets a WR1 in Moore.

This biggest winner from Friday’s blockbuster deal was the most obvious one. From the moment the Chicago Bears indicated that they were committed to Justin Fields as their starting quarterback in 2023, the conversation turned to what the team could get in a trade down.

As it turns out, it was rather a lot.

The Bears were able to stay inside the top 10 in this year’s draft while adding an additional first-rounder in 2024. Chicago also got a pick at the back of Round 2 this year and another second-rounder in 2025—with the former recouping at least some of the capital lost in the Chase Claypool fiasco.

And finally, the Bears got a proven wide receiver in DJ Moore who surpassed 1,000 receiving yards three times in five years despite playing with a menagerie of mediocrity at quarterback. Moore may not be an elite talent at the position, but he instantly becomes the best wide receiver on the Bears roster—by a sizable margin.

It’s also worth considering what the 2024 first-round pick from Carolina might look like. Frank Reich is a fine coach, but he’ll be leading a team with either a rookie quarterback or a bridge starter and arguably the worst assemblage of skill-position talent in the NFL.

SB Nation: A

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SB Nation’s Joseph Acosta believes this trade sets Chicago up well, both present and future.

For Chicago, they got exactly what they needed. They traded back, were able to get a top flight wide receiver in a free agent class and draft class that was weak at the position, and now have more shots to pick more players to stock that roster. Bears GM Ryan Poles knew exactly what he wanted when the Bears got the first overall pick, and he made sure he got it. Now, using those picks is going to be the next big hurdle.

The Bears went from having one of the worst receiver groups in football at the start of last season to a exciting room full of talented young veterans ahead of next year. Chicago already had drafted and developed Darnell Mooney into a downfield threat, and acquired Chase Claypool from the Steelers for a second round pick at the trade deadline. Moore will immediately become the No. 1 option for Fields, and should put Claypool and Mooney in a position to succeed.

The Bears can now use their cap space to rebuild the offensive and defensive lines. This trade sets Chicago up well in both the present and the future.

Fansided: A+

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Fansided’s Cody Williams called this a “home run” trade for Poles, where the Bears got exactly what they needed.

When you look at the position the Bears were in with the first pick, they were in the driver’s seat with a host of quarterback-needy teams behind them. So they could always get a king’s ransom for this trade, but what they walk away with is exactly what they needed.

Chicago moving down to No. 9 does likely take them out of consideration from drafting top defensive prospects like Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter, but they can still get an instant-impact defender or, perhaps more importantly, an offensive tackle to protect Justin Fields. What’s more pivotal, though, is that the Bears are adding a top-tier wide receiver in D.J. Moore who has impressed in spite of poor quarterback play, finally giving the Chicago offense a playmaker.

And if that weren’t enough, getting into the second round this year while having extra Top 64 picks in each of the next two draft’s after 2023 is huge to continue building the roster for the future.

For everything you could’ve imagined for the Bears to get in a trade for the No. 1 pick, this is an unquestionable home run for Ryan Poles and Co.

Clutch Points: A

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Clutch Points’ Dan Fappiano believes both the Bears and Panthers got what they needed in this trade. For Chicago, that includes additional picks and a top wideout in Moore.

Chicago needs help both defensively and in their offensive line. Those added picks gives the Bears more opportunities to fill those holes. The Bears were also seriously lacking in the receiver room. Moore has 364 receptions for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns over his five-year NFL career. He’ll immediately become the Bears’ WR1 and a major target for Fields.

The Bears gave up the top pick in the draft. The Panthers gave up a talented wide receiver and numerous future draft picks. However, in terms of their returns alone, both Chicago and Carolina got what they wanted.