The Carolina Panthers have traded multiple assets, including multiple first-round picks, to the Chicago Bears in order to make the first selection in the NFL draft, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport.
Panthers Make Blockbuster Trade for No. 1 Overall Pick in 2023 NFL Draft
The trade includes the ninth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the 61st pick, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025, and WR DJ Moore, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
This secures a quarterback at the top of the draft for Carolina but will raise questions about who that quarterback will throw to. Head coach Frank Reich has not expressed a preference for a specific quarterback, though he did say at the NFL Combine that he admires the draft class.
“It looks great,” said Reich of the quarterback class. “I mean, we’ve met with several of them today. A bunch of them today are very talented; I would say very smart.”
Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer have obviously landed on a top quarterback and must feel strongly that he separates himself from the rest of that group, given their willingness to trade early in the process to get a top QB instead of waiting for one to slip in the draft and making a draft day trade.
Fitterer had tipped his hand a little bit when meeting with the media at the NFL Combine when he mentioned that a team can “go get the guy that [they] want” when asked about trading before free agency.
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“You better have conviction if you do move up. But when you do that, you’re all in,” said Fitterer. It’s his preferred path. He added, “I think in an ideal world, you always want to draft the quarterback — draft, develop, and then have that guy here for five, 10 years.
“You want to have that consistency. It helps for many different reasons. The continuity of your roster, for salary cap reasons. There’s so many benefits to drafting and developing. That is the right route to go.”
The presumptive top quarterback in the draft is Alabama’s Bryce Young, but each quarterback has major questions surrounding their draft process. There are size concerns with Young, pressure concerns with Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, refinement concerns with Florida’s Anthony Richardson, and consistency concerns with Kentucky’s Will Levis.
It’s not often when multiple trade charts agree on a pick, but the older Jimmy Johnson-style trade chart suggests that from a pure pick value perspective, the Panthers underpaid the Bears by about the value of a mid-first-round pick this year. The Rich Hill trade chart, derived from historical trades, suggests that the Panthers underpaid by about the same value.
This would mean that the Bears and Panthers seemingly valued Moore as a first-round pick.
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On the other hand, the OverTheCap trade chart, derived from the value of the second contracts that draft picks sign, argues that before even calculating the value of Moore, the Panthers overpaid by a hefty sum — a mid-first-round pick.
The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective used historical player performance to derive a draft pick trade chart, which suggests that the Panthers overpaid — again without accounting for losing Moore — by about the same value as a late first-round pick.
Proponents of these charts will often argue that they don’t capture the realities of the value surrounding rookie quarterbacks, so these kinds of trades will not always tell the whole truth. Then again, in a draft where there are supposed to be four first-round quality quarterbacks, this might be the rare case where it is possible to overpay to draft a signal-caller.
The Bears, who have been bereft of draft picks in previous drafts as a result of their trades for Justin Fields and, prior to that, Khalil Mack, are now flush with picks and have a receiver to help out Fields to boot. That might mean they now have the ability to address issues along the offensive line, add a tight end, and fill out the defense without too much effort.
On top of that, the Bears entered this trade carrying the most cap space in the NFL. They’ll still have plenty to spare to address their needs. Chicago specifically had their eyes on Moore and wanted to secure him before entering free agency so they could have a better handle on what they needed to focus on, per Rapaport.