The Carolina Panthers currently hold the ninth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but they might be looking to trade up. According to rumors around the league, most notably on Twitter, the Chicago Bears are fielding offers for the first-overall pick, and two teams that are neither the Texans or the Colts have reached out about potentially finding making a deal. Could the Panthers be one of these teams and, if so, should they be this aggressive?
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Carolina Panthers Might Be Trying to Trade For First-Overall Pick
First, let’s talk about the primary source of this rumor. Returning from something of a hiatus, @DaBearsBlog tweeted out that Chicago is fully committed to Justin Fields as their quarterback of the future, and they have begun entertaining offers for the first-overall pick. Multiple teams have reached out, with two teams floating offers. While the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are the most likely suspects, the account states that neither team has made an offer as of yet.
Haven’t tweeted much but I have two things for ya.
1. Fields didn’t become “the guy” last week. He became “the guy” in November. The whole building loves him, and they should.
2. Two teams have already floated offers for first pick. Neither is Texans or Colts. Will be fun.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) February 2, 2023
Obviously, this tweet isn’t as bulletproof as a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport or ESPN’s Adam Schefter. However, there is reason to believe that the person behind the account knows what they’re talking about. Last year around this time, @DaBearsBlog correctly predicted the major events of the Chicago Bears search for a new General Manager. So, while this shouldn’t be taken as gospel, it’s definitely worth monitoring.
So, if the Texans and Colts aren’t actively trying to trade up (at least, as of now), then who is? Well, one of the more obvious candidates is the Carolina Panthers. Every team in the league would love to have the first-overall pick, but there are only a handful of teams in position to make a serious offer. First, the organization needs to have the resources to make a trade happen, and the player they’re going after needs to be pretty darn valuable to justify such a heavy trade package.
Fortunately, the Panthers check both boxes here. Armed with the ninth-overall pick, Carolina could easily send that pick along with somebody like Brian Burns and secure the first-overall pick. While that is a heavy price to pay, the Panthers desperately need a franchise quarterback, and if they have fallen in love with a prospect, then they need to do whatever they can to go and get their guy.
Is The Risk Worth the Reward?
Everyone can agree that quarterback is the most important position in football, but a quarterback cannot single-handedly win a football game or save a franchise. With that in mind, are the Panthers better off staying at nine and selecting the best player available? Well, let’s break that down.
As of this posting, there are four quarterback prospects that are widely viewed as the best in the class: C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, Bryce Young, and Anthony Richardson (order them however you like). It’s safe to assume that any quarterback-needy team would be happy to pounce on any of these young prospects if given the opportunity. Since we know the Bears aren’t taking a quarterback, that leaves the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, and Atlanta Falcons as teams that both need a new quarterback and have better draft picks than the Panthers. This doesn’t include teams with question marks at the position like the Detroit Lions or Seattle Seahawks.
Ultimately, this is one long way of saying that the Panthers can’t afford to wait around for a quarterback to fall to them. Put simply, there are too many other quarterback-needy teams desperate for a franchise savior, and if Carolina doesn’t do something, all the good prospects will be gone by the time the Panthers are on the clock. Trading up is the right move, and if the Panthers can get their pick of the class, then that’s even better.
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