CHICAGO - The Chicago Bears have traded their No. 1 overall draft pick to the Carolina Panthers, according to reports.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and ESPN's Adam Schefter are reporting the Bears gave away the number one pick for the No. 9 and No. 61 overall picks in 2023, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025, and Panthers superstar wide-receiver DJ Moore.
The move allows the Panthers to acquire a potential franchise quarterback — the sort of player the team has coveted for years — although it remains unclear which QB Carolina prefers. The Bears are committed to Justin Fields at quarterback and that gave them leverage to trade down.
Moore gives the Bears a solid receiver to pair with Fields, who lacked reliable downfield options but leaned on his legs and playmaking ability during an electrifying second season. Fields ran for 1,143 yards and the Bears led the league in rushing, but finished at the bottom in passing.
Moore was considered a must-have by the Bears, one of the people familiar with the deal said. Without him, the deal would not have been completed, the person said.
Moore has been Carolina’s top receiver since the Panthers drafted him in the first round in 2018. He has caught 364 passes for 5,201 yards with 21 touchdowns in five seasons.
The Panthers wanted to get the deal done before free agency because they wanted to know how much salary cap space they would have to work with. By trading Moore, the Panthers will free up $10 million under the cap.
Carolina now has its choice of Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson.
The Panthers may not have gotten the QB they wanted if they had stayed at No. 9.
"You go get the guy that you want, you know," Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said last week at the scouting combine about potentially trading up for a quarterback. "If you have a conviction on a guy, you go get him. It’s pretty simple that way. If you don’t know and you’re going to give all these resources to go up and get it, you’re hurting your team in the long run. You better be right. You better have conviction if you do move up. When you do that, you’re all in."
The Panthers have been seeking stability at quarterback since David Tepper bought the team in 2018.
They have tried several starters — including Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater and even bringing back Cam Newton for a second stint. But none of those options has worked out and Carolina hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2017.
The Bears (3-14) wrapped up one of the worst years in franchise history last season. Only the 1969 team that went 1-13 had a worse record.
The Bears-Panthers trade is expected to be announced on Wednesday, when the NFL’s free agency signing period begins.
Associated Press contributed to this report.