The Chicago Bears made changes to every position group this offseason, but no transaction has the potential to be as impactful as the trade for D.J. Moore. Forget about the draft picks that the franchise will enjoy through the 2025 season because what Moore's presence will bring to Chicago's offense is bigger than that. The 26-year-old will be entering his sixth season as a professional, and he's been every bit the WR1 during his career in Carolina.
During the last four years, Moore has the eighth most receiving yards in the NFL while receiving the bulk of the passes during that time from Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield.
Justin Fields has a lot to prove as a passer, but the potential is there, the flashes are there, and adding a legit number-one wide receiver will make Fields' job easier.
Last year the Panthers had three different quarterbacks start at least five games, and Moore still went for 63 receptions, 888 yards, and seven touchdowns.
"Despite shoddy quarterback play throughout his entire Panthers tenure and multiple coaching changes, Moore valiantly eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in three separate seasons," Adam Schein recently wrote at NFL.com. "His talent was evident to anyone who watched Carolina. Now in Chicago, he's poised to make a name for himself on the national scene."
Schein is predicting "at least 1,200 yards and 10 scores" for Moore, both of which would be career highs.
For a nice breakdown of Moore's game, this video from Dan Durkin is a must-watch.
Moore's speed and precise route running will stress coverages, creating opportunities in the passing game for his teammates, and his mere presence as the WR1 will allow Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool to slot into roles that best suit their abilities.
"It's pretty rare when you've got a guy that can run the route, have the route discipline that he has, the [football intelligence] that he has, and then also that speed and talent that he has," head coach Matt Eberflus said earlier this offseason via the team's site.
The offseason injuries to Mooney and Claypool could be a blessing in disguise as it allowed Fields more opportunities to connect with Moore during OTAs and minicamps. Towards the end of the offseason program, the Fields to Moore connection was on full display and being talked up by the media members at Halas Hall.
"It did come on quickly," Justin Fields said via ESPN. "I didn't really expect anything because it's different for each guy, but I feel like with DJ, his body language is pretty easy to read. Early on, we communicated on how we want each route run. Of course, he has a lot of experience. He's been in the league for a good period of time now. He's played a lot of football, so he knows different coverages really well. That's one thing that I was kind of impressed about with the offense coming in and just understanding, seeing coverages really well on short routes and stuff like that. He's been great. And you know, the chemistry has really picked up."
The chemistry between a quarterback and his receivers must be second nature because so much of how the routes are run is predicated on how the coverage looks. They need to be on the same page, which comes with time and reps.
"I ask a lot of questions," Moore said in May via the team's site about building a relationship with Fields. "He comes to me to see what I am thinking, and I go to him to see what he's thinking. So that's a lot of back and forth. Understanding the quarterback's footwork on different plays and just being in the right spot when he comes back, if I'm on the backside, just knowing that 'hey, I'm the backside read.' Or if I am on the front side, understanding his footwork for the front side, just honing in on that."
Besides the football side of things, the Bears are excited about Moore, the person.
"My first impression of DJ is that he lit up the room," coach 'Flus said shortly after the trade. "The energy that he brought into the room and that his family brought into the room was just outstanding. You can feel that light inside of him and the energy that he's going to bring to our football team."
"What an outstanding young man. "
The Bears' offense in 2022 was basically a one-man show with Fields leading the way on a talent-deficient and injury-riddled unit, but with Moore rounding out a new crop of weapons, Chicago's offense should no longer be offensive.