News broke on Friday that the Chicago Bears had agreed to trade the #1 overall pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers. The compensation offered was interesting. The Panthers sent their own first-round pick (#9), a second-round pick (#61), and a pair of future picks (a 2024 first-rounder and a 2025 second-rounder). They also sent wide receiver D.J. Moore.
By most conventional measures, the Bears received only a modest return for the most valuable pick they have held since the 1940s.
The Hill Chart: Rich Hill has put together a chart based on the approximate values that GMs have been using at least since the modern rookie salary scale. By that math, the #1 overall pick is worth 1000 points. Meanwhile, the total value of the picks the Bears received is worth 650 points if you discount the 2025 pick by a single round or 622 points if you discount the 2025 picks by the two rounds that would be “the norm” for trades so far off in the future. This means that the Bears need to consider DJ Moore to be the equivalent of either the #12 pick or the #9 pick in the draft in order for them to break even on this trade.
The Johnson Chart: The Hill Chart replaces the Johnson chart, and it uses slightly more aggressive values in some ways. It considers the #1 overall pick to be worth 3000 points, the received picks to be worth 2252 points (or 2132 points if you want to be more pessimistic), and requires that DJ Moore is the equivalent of either the #24 pick or the #19 pick in order for Chicago to break even.
The Chase Stuart Chart: However, it’s worth pointing out that GMs traditionally overvalue earlier picks compared to the performance of those picks and they undervalue later picks. Chase Stuart has addressed this problem by looking at the value teams are actually likely to realize. By that math, the Bears are “ahead” before DJ Moore is even considered, and they are ahead by the equivalent of an early second-rounder.
Basic Trade Values
Obviously, a lot of the value of this trade is wrapped into D.J. Moore, who is under contract through 2025 on a deal worth around $17.5 million per year. Moore has a career rate of earning first downs on more than 41% of his targets, and he is a solid weapon for an offense that has not had them. Is he equal a first-round draft pick?
Wide receiver is an exceptionally volatile position to draft, and the rate of investment in the position compared to the rate of return is so inconsistent that the numbers can be manipulated in almost any direction to make an argument seem reasonable. If the draft pick is a metaphorical crap shoot, then drafting a wide receiver is a crap shoot when someone is shaking the table.
DJ Moore is a stable, known quantity at a position the Bears have historically struggled to stabilize. Is that reliability worth missing out on another lottery ticket or dice roll?
I am guessing that I know what answer Justin Fields would give if we asked him.
This is not a proverbial “haul” of picks. It’s a very balanced deal that gives the Panthers the chance to draft the quarterback they need and gives the Bears the chance to build their team around Justin Fields now while giving them the flexibility to adapt to whatever the next two seasons requires of them. At the moment, it seems like the rare trade that both teams won.