The Bears trade the top pick to the Panthers for draft haul, DJ Moore


On Friday, the Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft for the Carolina Panthers for a load of draft picks and veteran wide receiver DJ Moore, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The Panthers sent Chicago their first-round pick (No. 9 overall) and second-round pick (No. 61) in the April draft, as well as a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and Moore.

The move presumably sets Carolina up to take a quarterback and signals the Bears could go ahead with theirs — at least for now.

Taking a quarterback ranked No. 1 overall worked for the Panthers 12 years ago when they drafted Auburn’s Cam Newton. He won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, received three Pro Bowl nominations, a first-team All-Pro selection and league MVP honors after leading the Panthers to Super Bowl 50.

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But the Panthers have not had a winning season or a playoff berth since 2017 and have struck multiple deals to land Newton’s replacement, to no avail. Never before have the Panthers made such an aggressive bid to find their long-term answer at the position.

In 2021, Carolina attempted to acquire Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. When Stafford landed in Los Angeles, Carolina switched and traded for the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold. But his freshman year at Carolina was limited because of a shoulder injury and he lost the starting job in 2022 when the Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield, who was sacked in December.

It’s unknown which quarterback Carolina is targeting in this year’s draft, but trading is a clear indicator he’s targeting one.

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“We’re just evaluating,” said Coach Frank Reich earlier this month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “I mean, I think a lot of these guys are very talented, smart and have a lot of the qualities, but we’re going to keep making that assessment.”

Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1967, the top draft pick has traded just 12 times, most recently in 2016 when the Rams acquired the top pick from the Tennessee Titans and quarterback pick Jared Goff.

It’s rare because it’s expensive.

In addition to the draft haul Carolina sent to Chicago, the Panthers gave up their leading wide receiver for the past four seasons. Now, Moore will be the top target for Bears quarterback Justin Fields, Chicago’s first-round pick (No. 11 overall) two years ago.

There was some speculation that the Bears Fields might trade and apply the top pick to a quarterback. But their trade Friday is confirmation that they will move forward with the 24-year-old by surrounding him with more offensive help.

The Bears, who finished 3-14 last season, now have 10 picks — including four in the top 100 — in the April draft. They also have approximately $75.1 million in salary caps to rebuild their roster, according to

Coach Matt Eberflus acknowledged on combining that a first-round switchback was a consideration, even hinting that the team might want to switch back multiple times to hoard picks.

“You can stay right there in No. 1 and choose if you have a great player there that you like,” Eberflus said. “Or you can trade back as far as you need to get as many picks as you want. Those are all the options [general manager] Ryan [Poles] and I watch.”

This story has been updated. The Bears trade the top pick to the Panthers for draft haul, DJ Moore

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