We are a little less than a month away from the first anniversary of when the Chicago Bears made a trade with the Carolina Panthers to move down from 1 to 9 in the 2023 NFL Draft. The return was fantastic and Ryan Poles now looks like a genius as the Panthers were the worst team in football and the Bears now hold the first pick (via Panthers) and also the ninth-overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Last year, no one seemed to want the Bears to move on from Justin Fields for either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. I was much higher on Stroud than I was on Young, but even I thought sticking with Fields was the right answer. Using hindsight in a vacuum, it looks like maybe that was wrong. However, when you factor in the return Poles received, I'd say the Bears came out on top.
Adam Schefter reports need to be taken lightly by Bears fans right now
We won't know the full return of that trade until after the 2025 NFL Draft, but as of now, it is DJ Moore, Darnell Wright, Tyrique Stevenson, the Eagles' 2024 4th-round pick, the Panthers' 2024 1st-round pick, and the Panthers 2025 2nd-round pick. The key now is hitting with that first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That could be trading down again for a haul or it could be taking one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class. Ryan Poles cannot afford to swing and miss at the QB position though — whether that is keeping Fields or moving on for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.