What You Need to Know About the Panthers’ Trade Up for the No. 1 Pick

You didn’t think the NFL would go quietly on the weekend before free agency, did you? It just wasn’t the breaking news warning we all expected to ruin a great Friday night. While the Aaron Rodgers Watch caught the attention of the football world, the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers grabbed everyone’s attention with a move that would shake up the draft and the quarterback market. Chicago, which had openly bought the first pick in the draft, found a buyer in Carolina, which sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and wide receiver DJ Moore.

With premium picks and a star player, this deal will change both teams’ plans for the offseason. The Panthers are clearly going to pick a quarterback, but which one? The Bears did make a commitment to building around Justin Fields, but was this the best way to do it? There are many questions to be answered:

Okay, so what was the exact compensation?

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers abandoned Chicago. 9 and no. 61 picks in this year’s draft, 1st in 2024 and 2nd in 2025. And to sweeten the bank, they added Moore, who is 25 and has three 1,110-yard receiving seasons. Moore will help fill the Bears’ huge wide receiver void and give Fields some much-needed support.

So the Panthers know exactly which quarterback they’re going to pick. You’re not going to give up this whole draft to move up if you don’t know, right? RIGHT?!?!

One might guess! But as a Panther fan, I would advise you to never assume that this franchise is operating rationally. The reason they were forced to take this dramatic step is because they have acted unwisely over the past few years.

Also, the draft process is at a very early stage, so it’s probably for the best if GM Scott Fitterer is still mulling over options – and according to multiple reports from Friday night’s Panthers win, it really is:

This move seems less like a move up for one particular player than a take on the top of the draft.

About these quarterback options: who are they?

Well, there are four quarterbacks debating who will be first overall. And while Will Lewis from Kentucky seems to be the type of quarterback that NFL general managers look for — he’s big and can throw the ball far — he didn’t produce the kind of quarterback the Panthers usually prefer. We can probably take it off the list.

That leaves Bryce Young of Alabama, CJ Stroud of Ohio State and Anthony Richardson of Florida. All of them are talented and worthy of being in the top 10 in this draft, especially with so many teams needing quarterbacks, but I’m not sure. any of them will be treated as none. 1 pick in many drafts.

Young is 5’10” and was probably 95 percent water when he weighed 204 pounds at last week’s NFL scouting camp, so obviously there are longevity concerns. Stroud is an accurate pocket passer, but his ability to play out of structure has been questioned, which is a big deal in today’s NFL. And then Richardson, who has the highest ceiling in the class and who just blew the combine with his performance in the 40-yard snatch and vertical jump, is raw and was not an accurate college passer.

I don’t know yet which quarterback the Panthers’ new coaching staff led by Frank Reich will favor, but I will say that Richardson is the type of talent that can convince NFL coaches or general managers to take a big step — not unlike what the 49ers did to move up in the Trey Lance draft two years ago.

You said you were a Panther fan. Do you think it was a good deal?

Not in a vacuum. Absolutely not. I don’t think this QB class is strong enough to justify a trade up. But transactions don’t happen in a vacuum. Context matters, and context here is that the Panthers haven’t given their fans anything – or anyone – to latch on to since Cam Newton was cut in 2020. Regardless of which QB they use this pick on, it will change the moment Roger Goodell announces the name on draft night. Even if the Panthers aren’t competitive next season, there will be a reason to tune in every week. There will be reason to hope for the future. Fans will finally understand the direction of the team.

Giving up all that black capital is disgusting, but it was a price to pay. And the Panthers did have a few free picks thanks to the Christian McCaffrey trade last year. Even after this trade, Carolina has six picks in this year’s draft, including three in the top 100. tankaton, they still rank seventh in total capital project. They won’t have a first round player next season, but it’s only a year without one. Indeed, giving up Moore may be the hardest part of the deal.

Sure, but building around a young quarterback without additional draft capital can make things more difficult, right?

Sure, but Carolina doesn’t rebuild offense from scratch. The offensive line is young and could enter the top 10 as early as next year. The Panthers have a lot of money to spend this offseason if they want to dip into the free agent market, and they’ll be picking four times on the second day of this year’s draft, and the teams have had a lot of success finding good draft receiver talent. second or third round. If all else fails, they can simply trade for a star receiver – and there are a few that might be available, such as Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins, who probably wouldn’t take a premium pick at this point in his career.

I think Caroline will be fine. And if Reich is as good a coach as I think, the offense and quarterback they pick will be in good hands.

How about Bears? Should their fans see this as a W?

Without a doubt. Chicago not only increased its pick list, but also filled its biggest roster need by acquiring Moore before he became a free agent. Moore is better than any wide receiver who becomes a free agent next week, and the Chicago general manager didn’t have to pay that free agency premium to get him. Moore’s average annual salary now ranks 10th in the position, ahead of the aging Keenan Allen. Now, Chicago still has work to do on his receptionist, but additional project capital will help that process and he can now focus on other needed positions when free agency begins next week.

Bears GM Ryan Poles could probably hold out a little longer and try to raise the price, but I’m not sure they could have found a better deal. This allows them to stay in the top 10 this year and also adds a talented player to the premium position.

How does Moore feel about the deal?

I would say he was a little surprised:

And what are the financial implications of moving Moore’s contract for Carolina?

One of the benefits of the trade for players is that you don’t have to take on the guaranteed parts of the contract that remain with the player’s previous team. The Panthers will receive the remainder of Moore’s signing bonus, resulting in a $14.6 million fine in 2023. time.

Moore is really good, right? It seems like a stupid thing to do.

Yes, Moore is really good. He opens up, constantly catches the ball, and after the catch he is terrible. He is by no means an elite WR, but he can make a decent impression on his best days. So, yes, it’s certainly not good to give away talent, but the Panthers wanted the first overall pick, and that comes with a big price.

What impact will this have on the draft and possibly free agency?

I doubt that this will greatly affect freedom of action outside of Chicago. There is one less team in need of a QB that could potentially get into the mix for Lamar Jackson, but Carolina has always seemed more inclined to pursue the rookie or cheap veteran QB option – the latter could be the case if a coaching staff that also includes Josh McKeown. as a quarterback coach, wants to be patient with the development of a young quarterback.

As far as the draft goes, it’s like the first of several dominoes. The Texans will likely stay in place 2 and take the quarterback, so if any other team wants to get on the board and take QB3, they’ll have to deal with the Cardinals. This puts pressure on the desperate Colts at No. 1. 4. If the Colts aren’t willing to settle for their remaining quarterback, they may have to make a deal with Arizona to avoid that fate.

The off-season has already begun tumultuously, but from now on it will become even more chaotic.


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