In a stunning move, the Bears have traded the #1 overall pick to the Panthers in a package deal that includes D.J. Moore.
Updated trade summary:— Underdog NFL (@Underdog__NFL) March 10, 2023
2023 1st-round pick (No. 1 overall)
2023 1st-round pick (No. 9)
2024 1st-round pick
2023 2nd-round pick (No. 61)
2025 2nd-round pick
WR DJ Moore
Bears GM Ryan Poles pulled the strings on this deal at the absolute perfect time. This is a weaker wide receiver crop in free agency, likely making Moore the biggest acquisition of the next few weeks. Poles also doesn’t have to worry about paying the Bears' new wideout soon. Moore signed a new extension last March, which leaves Chicago on the hook for at least the next two years of his deal.
This move also obviously cements the organization’s confidence in Justin Fields as their QB of the future. Now at #9 overall – and with an additional cache of future picks – the Bears are in a much better position to rebuild both their offensive line and defense, and it will leave them out of range to select any of the top QBs in this class.
Poles should send former Texans HC Lovie Smith a box of cigars for gifting Chicago the #1 pick in Week 18.
D.J. Moore’s fantasy football outlook in Chicago
Now with Moore, Darnell Mooney, recently acquired Chase Claypool, and TE Cole Kmet as the main pass catchers – Fields has actual NFL weapons at his disposal.
However, as exciting as this move is for the Bears in the short- and long-term, D.J. Moore’s fantasy football projection absolutely takes a hit in Chicago.
The Bears still need to upgrade their offensive line and add another running back with David Montgomery slated to hit free agency, but Fields’ skill-set necessitates a run-heavy offense.
Last year, Chicago ran the ball 53.1% of the time when the game was within a score – which was by far the highest rate in the league. Carolina was fourth in run rate (49.2%) in 2022.
Their run-heavy tendencies led to extremely low passing volume as the Bears called just 25.6 pass plays per game last season, which was 10 fewer passes per game than NFL average (35.7 passes per game).
Moore’s presence alone is going to help this offense, but I am not sure it will fundamentally change what the Bears are. Fields made strides as a passer last year, and I think he will continue that upward trend now, but this still has to be a run-first team.
Efficiency-wise, Moore was very solid last year despite getting awful QB play. He finished 26th in receiving yards per route run — 1.95 — all while seeing a catchable pass on just 66% of his targets.
Moore arguably saw the worst QB play in the league last season, and while Fields is an incredible playmaker, he still needs to make strides in the accuracy department.
According to Fantasy Points Data, just 78.5% of Fields’ pass attempts last season were catchable. That was 28th-of-33 qualifying QBs, as only Davis Mills (78.2%), Matthew Stafford (78.2%), Marcus Mariota (77.8%), Carson Wentz (77.0%), and Zach Wilson (72.9%) were less accurate than Fields.
While I am excited to draft Fields in 2023, I am not going to buy into the hype that this is an appreciable boost for Moore. We have learned this lesson in fantasy football time and time again. We tend to overproject talented wide receivers on run-first teams.
After breaking out in 2019 with a WR14 fantasy finish, Moore has followed that up with seasons of WR26, W27, and WR33. It’s just really hard to finish as a top fantasy receiver on run-first teams with quarterbacks that struggle with accuracy. Fields is the best QB that Moore has played with since 2019, but we still have the same concerns about Moore’s profile for fantasy as we have in years past.
As for the Panthers, the quarterback they are about to take at #1 overall is going to desperately need a new re-stock of weapons. Terrace Marshall and Laviska Shenault are the only two receivers under contract whom the team can legitimately think about giving a role in 2023, while they haven’t had an answer at TE since Greg Olsen left in 2019.