Bears Insider

Panthers' 'ideal' QB situation makes them trade target for Bears

Bears Insider
Ryan Poles, Scott Fitterer

As Bears general manager Ryan Poles surveys potential trade partners for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, a few names have potentially joined the fray.

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts remain the most likely trade targets for the Bears. Colts general manager Chris Ballard's end-of-season comments had to have Poles excited about the possible price he could extract.

Tom Brady's retirement announcement Wednesday could potentially bring the Las Vegas Raiders, who own the No. 7 pick, and the New York Jets, who own the No. 13 pick, into the equation.

But another team is lurking as a potential sleeper: The Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers have a solid young core and play in an NFC South division that just got weaker with Brady's retirement. Some believe the Panthers could be a potential landing spot for Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo.

However, recently-hired head coach Frank Reich just came from Indianapolis, where relying on veteran retread quarterbacks cost him his job. He knows the importance of finding a long-term fit and not patching over that hole year after year.

General manager Scott Fitterer clarified that the Panthers would prefer to "draft and develop" a quarterback. If that means trading up, so be it.

"I think you've got to have conviction," Fitterer said via Schuyler Callihan. If there's a guy in this class that you like, you got to go up and go get him. We're in a position now where we have a defense, we have an offensive line. We built around this for this opportunity. So if you have conviction, go get him. If not, you don't want to force it. You don't want to take a player and pass on a really good player, that might set you back. But you can't be afraid to take a shot if you believe that's the guy.


"I don't think you ever want to box yourself in and just say hey, we'll go strictly draft. I've always said that's kind of the proper way to do it. Draft and develop from a cost effective standpoint. But if we don't believe that guy is there this year, and we haven't even started the process, our scouts have. In an ideal world we would draft and develop."

The Panthers own the No. 9 overall pick in the first round. Eight spots might be too big of a move down for the Bears. That would likely cost them the ability to add a true blue-chip talent in Will Anderson or Jalen Carter. But if the Panthers are willing to overpay for the right to move up to No. 1, the Bears will have to consider it.

The ideal scenario being bandied about for the Bears is a trade-down with the Colts. By moving down to four, the Bears would, in theory, still get one of either Carter or Anderson while also adding a future draft capital from Indianapolis.

RELATED: Brady's retirement could be blessing for Bears in multiple ways

The best thing for the Bears is to have as many bidders as possible as the draft nears.

Brady might have helped that cause Wednesday by removing the top veteran option from the offseason quarterback carousel.

Carolina is in an excellent position to overtake the NFC South throne from the Brady-less Bucs. But the Panthers will need a quarterback to make that happen. 

Desperation often leads to foolish mistakes or overpays, something the Bears hope to take advantage of come draft time.

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