Poles received 9 overall, 61 overall (second round), the Panthers' first-round pick 2024, and the Panthers' second-round pick in 2025. In addition, the Bears also landed standout wide receiver D.J. Moore.
So let's take a look at how Poles did with the haul he landed.
First, let's examine it based on the NFL's trading chart. I will use Jimmy Johnson. Receiving the 9th pick is basically a requirement when you are trading down. The value lost from 1 to 9 is 1650 points, so let's see how he did. 61 overall is worth 290 points. The 2024 first rounder is usually graded at about a half value due to it being the following year. That puts the value around 500 to 600 points. A pick two years out is worth roughly a third of a current pick. So the 2025 third rounder is worth around 150 to 200 points. To finish the gap on the chart, the Bears landed Moore, which makes his value in this trade equivalent to roughly a high second round pick. That seems pretty darn accurate to me.
So when I look at the charts, the trade stacks up. When I pull back and look at how he did overall, first of all, it seems that Poles all along wanted at least one future first round pick. The 2024 is critical, and while the AFC South is winnable, and I certainly wouldn't put it past Carolina to win the division with an 8-9 record, if the Saints with Carr bubble up to the top of that division, Carolina is most likely a top ten pick in 2024. That would be huge for the Bears franchise.
The 2025 compensation is interesting. As I tweeted, I had heard that Moore was a key part of this trade. The Panthers did not want to give him up and tried to give up a 2025 first, so they could keep Moore. But Poles didn't budge. The Panthers eventually caved, and the deal was solidified. Having another high value pick two years from now is a job well done from Poles as well.
The addition of D.J. Moore is excellent on so many levels. First of all, he has three years remaining on his contract at $17 million a season, which is quite reasonable for the current wide receiver market. On top of that, Moore has basically no guaranteed money left, so if it doesn't work out for some reason, they can easily get out from underneath the deal.
But more importantly, Poles was in a tough position to improve his wide receiver group with not much available in free agency. He knew making a move like this one with Carolina, or with the Colts (Michael Pittman) was going to be key if he wanted to bolster the wide receiver room. He mentioned previously that making the move early would potentially allow him to add a player so that he would have a better idea of how to attack free agency. The Bears now have a top three of Moore, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. That's a group that can give Justin Fields some confidence.
So far, we are quite positive about the trade, so is there a negative?
If I was going to nitpick, yes, there is. The Bears hold the 53, 61 and 64 picks in the draft. But what they don't have is any picks between 32 and 52. They do not own any picks in the top two-thirds of the second round, but the Panthers also hold the 39th pick in the draft. In a perfect scenario, Poles lands the 39th pick instead of the 61st pick. Those twenty-two picks are a massive difference in terms of the type of player you can land in the second round.
That would have been a lot for Carolina to agree to, I would have been okay if Poles added a day three sweetener to the pot to get Carolina to agree to the difference. The Bears own the second pick of the fourth round. I would have been willing to include that pick if it meant the Bears have 39 and not 61. Perhaps that's not something Poles was willing to do, but in my eyes, that would have been the perfect way to cap off this trade.
Without pick number 39, I can't give Poles a perfect score, but he absolutely did quite well and has set up the Bears' franchise to land multiple top players and really build a special team in the coming years.
First Overall Pick Trade Grade: A-
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