To say the Chicago Bears already won their trade with the Carolina Panthers is incredibly dumb.
So the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears made a blockbuster trade on Friday evening…
I walked back into my apartment after a run and saw the Adam Schefter tweet. We all did. While we all knew that the Bears were probably going to trade back from No. 1, never in my wildest dreams did I think their trade partner would be the Panthers. You would be lying to yourself if you did not think the most ideal trade partner in this scenario would have been the Indianapolis Colts…
Well, it takes two teams to make a trade, sometimes even three or more. The Bears did get a haul.
However, for everyone to say the Bears emphatically won this trade when they haven’t been what I would consider to be a well-run organization at any point in my lifetime (33.5 today!) is patently ridiculous. In a weird way, I think this is a trade where both teams can end up winning, or losing, in the end. Truth be told, I want all trades to be win-wins, but I do not trust either party in this deal.
So let’s pump the brakes on having a Chicagoland trade victory parade a week before St. Paddy’s.
We have no earthly idea who won the Chicago Bears-Carolina Panthers trade yet
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to start with the Panthers’ side of things, well, because it’s easier. They gave up two picks this year (No. 9 and No. 61), a first next year, a second in 2025 and wide receiver D.J. Moore. Although Moore is a fine player, he has never moved the needle for me. Carolina has been bad since he has been there, but Chicago is a place where receivers go to die.
The Bears already have Darnell Mooney, who I kind of like, and tight end Cole Kmet, who is growing on me. As for the Chase Claypool addition, the Pittsburgh Steelers robbed them blind last year. You and I and everyone knows this. Guess who has the first pick at the top of the second round now? And that right there is why I can never fully trust the Bears under any circumstances.
Ryan Poles may be a great general manager one day, but I don’t trust him. Frankly, I feel similarly about Scott Fitterer in Charlotte. Where it lands differently for me is I feel the Panthers put forth real thought into moving up eight spots from No. 9 to No. 1. Newish owner David Tepper is tired of retread quarterbacks, and so is new head coach Frank Reich. This move is bold, but I understand it.
Reich doesn’t do short quarterbacks. That’s fine. Everyone has a type. But if he Fitterer, Tepper and the rest of the Carolina brass feel strongly about taking C.J. Stroud or even Anthony Richardson No. 1, then by all means, go get your guy. Should their new quarterback work out, then no one will care how much they gave up to get him. If he stinks, well, they’re all getting fired and starting over.
In short, I respect the boldness put forth by the Panthers to pull this trade off. For NFC South reasons, I kind of want this to blow up in their face, but their fan base has been through a lot of late and I don’t want to see a rival team of mine stink forever. By trading away picks, and even a quality player like Moore, Carolina has a refined sense of focus to nail their quarterback evaluation.
Now let’s talk about Da Bears…
I lived in Chicago for three years. It is an amazing sports town, but I feel the passion combined with the cold weather forces their sports franchises to make zany and irrational decisions constantly. Basically, you need a Michael Jordan to cover up the ongoing organizational chaos that never seems to fully go away in this one-of-a-kind sports town. Believe me, I want this to work out…
However, I can’t for the life of me understand why Poles traded back to No. 9. The two other times I can recall a team trading back from No. 1 involved the cheapskate San Diego Chargers. They did it twice in four years. While they “drafted” three future hall-of-famers with those picks in LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees and then Eli Manning for Philip Rivers, they never won the AFC with them.
But when the Bolts moved back from No. 1 to No. 5 with the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 and No. 1 to No. 4 with the New York Giants in 2004 (sort of), they were still in a prime position to draft hall-of-fame talent. Against all odds, they crushed it with those picks. The Bears could do it, but I have major reservations about their ability to hit a home run picking at No. 9. No. 4 had a better chance.
Because at No. 4, you can get players like Rivers, Derrick Thomas, A.J. Green and Ezekiel Elliott. At No. 9, you can get hall-of-fame-level players like Luke Kuechly, Brian Urlacher and Fred Taylor, but there are a lot of Leonard Floyds and Ted Ginn Jr.’s out there. Maybe the Panthers will be bad for a few more years, but I think the Bears did remove themselves from the All-Pro defender equation.
Had the Bears not traded back anything further than No. 7 with the Las Vegas Raiders, they could have still gotten a blue-chipper defensively. Talent-wise, Will Anderson Jr. and Jalen Carter are off the board by then, but you could get someone like Christian Gonzalez or Nolan Smith and then proceed to wreck the Falcons into oblivion. Former general manager Ryan Pace is in shambles.
Look. I want Poles to prove me wrong and I want Cobb County native Justin Fields to be an absolute superstar the great city of Chicago deserves. I want every third boy growing up Chicagoland to be named Justin. I really want this for you. But I cannot trust the Bears, who I describe to my friends in Atlanta as the Falcons before Arthur Blank bought the team. IYKYK…
Preferably, I would have wanted Poles to stand pat at No. 1 and make teams picking after the Bears like the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals and Colts absolutely squirm. “Yeah, we will trade back, but no further than No. 5. Get on the phone with Seattle or whoever and make it happen.” Simply put, No. 9 is too far, and you know it. Even with all those picks, you still have to draft guys.
Ultimately, the Bears will need to hit on the bulk of these picks to win the deal in the end, especially if Richardson, Stroud or whoever replaces Cam Newton on Panthers Mt. Rushmore. Instead of having enough tokens to buy the coolest thing behind the counter at Dave & Buster’s, the Bears have decided to stockpile glassware and a bunch of gum. You cannot live off eating gum.
I am glad they were able to make a deal, but I still don’t think they were the right trade partners.