The Chicago Bears wasted little time making a major splash this offseason not even letting the legal free agency tampering period begin on Sunday before doing so. Chicago sent the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the No. 9 overall pick, No. 61 in this year’s draft, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025, and wide receiver D.J. Moore, per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter.
Chicago Bears Make Blockbuster Trade for Panthers Star D.J. Moore
Things happen fast in the NFL. But Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles has telegraphed the trade for Carolina Panthers star wide receiver D.J. Moore for some time. Poles told NBC Sports‘ Peter King that he was confident he could secure at least two first-round picks in exchange for No. 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Instead, he compromises, though not by much.
The 25-year-old pass-catcher is coming off of a “down season”. He caught 63 passes for 888 yards – both of which were his lowest marks since his rookie season. But he also recorded a career-best seven touchdowns through the air. And he did it all despite a revolving door at quarterback which the Panthers hope to address in trading for the top pick.
Moore certainly seemed surprised at the news, if his tweet is any indication.
— DJ Moore💫 (@idjmoore) March 10, 2023
“The Bears made WR DJ Moore a ‘must’ in the trade discussions with the #Panthers,” tweeted Mike Kaye of The Charlotte Observer. “They were adamant that he be included in the deal.”
According to Joe Person of The Athletic, Moore was included instead of an additional first-round pick.
What the Bears are Getting in DJ Moore
Moore comes to the Bears with three years and more than $50 million remaining on his contract. But there is an out in his contract after this season. It would leave the Bears on the hook for just $1.1 million of that, per Sportrac.
Despite the down season last year – which would have led the Bears in every category – the 6-foot, 210-pound Moore has a solid resume.
He averaged 82 grabs and over 1100 receiving yards in each of the previous three seasons and offers tremendous positional versatility as well as a quality presence in the Panthers’ locker room by all accounts.
“He’s such a good player,” said former Panther head coach Matt Rhule, per Person in 2021. “He blocks for us..runs routes even when he knows he’s not gonna get the ball open. He went in the backfield to run routes out of the backfield. … I don’t know if people, even on our own team, recognize how much of a pro he is…that’s why he’s having so much success.”
The biggest pro to this is that it moves the incumbent group of Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, and last year’s fifth-round pick Velus Jones Jr. down a peg.
It should serve all of them well just as it obviously will third-year passer Justin Fields.
Chase Claypool, Khalil Herbert React to D.J. Moore Trade
News of Moore’s arrival quickly reached his new Bears teammates with Claypool and backup running back Khalil Herbert both chiming in after the news broke.
“Ohhhh we making moves #BearDown,” Claypool tweeted out shortly after the deal was announced with Schefter also noting that Carolina has multiple quarterback targets in mind.
Herbert’s reaction was very much in the same vein, albeit even less wordy.
— Khalil Herbert (@JuiceHerbert) March 10, 2023
But it was not just limited to the Bears’ locker room.
Miami Dolphins stud wide receiver Tyreek Hill – who was the centerpiece of a draft day trade from the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason – also weighed in.
“DJ Moore with J fields is gone so fun to watch,” Hill tweeted.