Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles finally found the deal he was looking for.
The No. 1 pick the Bears collected for finishing last season with a 3-14 record now belongs to the Carolina Panthers. In a headline-grabbing trade Friday, Poles reportedly sent the top selection in April’s draft to GM Scott Fitterer in exchange for the No. 9 pick, the No. 61 pick, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-round pick in 2025 and wide receiver DJ Moore. ESPN and NFL Network first reported the news.
It had long been the Bears’ preference to trade the No. 1 pick and conversations on that front escalated when the league scouting combine began in late February. Poles vowed to remain in firm control of the situation, seeking a trade partner that could help maximize what the Bears squeezed out of the top pick while remaining mindful of how far they were willing to trade down.
Now the Bears have their haul and can begin recalibrating their draft board on the march to the start of Round 1 on April 27.
Friday’s trade was just the latest move in a busy and potentially landmark 2023 offseason for the Bears. Even after bottoming out in 2022, there has been great hope inside Halas Hall and within the fan base that the Bears could begin restocking their roster with high-end talent and depth given the resources they had to take into free agency and the draft.
At the combine, Poles admitted he was excited to take that test.
“We have flexibility. We have opportunity,” he said. “I know our entire front office, our entire organization is pumped, just with the opportunity that we have to do something special.”
With the No. 1 overall pick traded away, it’s now Poles’ responsibility to turn the resources he got back into something meaningful. That process, of course, will continue with the draft.