Ryan Poles

ESPN says Bears ‘accelerated roster turnaround’ with trade for D.J. Moore, Panthers’ first-round picks

Grades for the Chicago Bears’ trade with the Carolina Panthers are beginning to roll in from big media outlets, including ESPN, who gave GM Ryan Poles high marks for his decision to trade the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers for the No. 9 and 61 picks in the 2023 draft, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2025 second-rounder… and WR D.J. Moore.

ESPN’s Seth Walder gave the Bears a B+.

“In a single trade, the Bears accelerated their roster turnaround and will be able to help quarterback Justin Fields,” Walder wrote. “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.”

Walder also liked the addition of WR D.J. Moore, who the Bears have under contract through the 2026 season at a low price relative to the current wide receiver market. He gives Chicago a proven WR1, which was one of the biggest weaknesses on the roster before the blockbuster trade.

That’s the good news. The bad news? Walder thinks the better move for the Chicago Bears would’ve been to trade QB Justin Fields.

Fortunately for Bears fans, the suggestion that Chicago would’ve been better off trading Fields is a narrative that will die a fast death now that the Bears have pushed all their chips in on their 2021 first-round quarterback. Poles wouldn’t have made a deal like this if he didn’t have full faith and confidence in Justin Fields’ ability to lead the Chicago Bears to the playoffs and beyond.

Call me crazy, but I think a B+ is too low of a grade. Click here to see how I graded the trade.

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