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Bears mulled trading down with Texans from 1 to 2, then trading down again with Panthers

Mike Florio and Peter King break down the Bears-Panthers deal for the No. 1 NFL draft pick and why although they’re not looking to move on from Justin Fields, they have options for the following year.

Bears General Manager Ryan Poles traded down from the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the ninth overall pick, and he’s pleased with what he got in return. But he was considering a more complex scenario that might have given the Bears an even greater return.

Poles told Peter King in Football Morning in America that he was considering the possibility of moving down just one spot in a trade with the Texans, getting the No. 2 overall pick this year and the Texans’ first-round pick next year, and then trading down again to No. 9 with the Panthers. But Poles said he ultimately decided that the time immediately following the Scouting Combine was the right time to execute a trade to a team that had fallen in love with one of the quarterbacks in the draft.

I thought there was an opportunity to do something historically pretty cool with a trade from one to two and two to nine,” Poles said. “That had potential to add more draft capital this year, and then the possibility that you’re sitting on three ones in the following year. That had my attention. But my gut told me to trigger on it now. At the combine, I thought those quarterbacks did an outstanding job in their interview process. A lot of teams felt really good about some of those guys, but as you get further away from the combine, maybe there’s a bad pro day or something that turns teams off.”

Poles said he and Panthers General Manager Scott Fitterer engaged in thoughtful negotiations, and when the Panthers agreed to include wide receiver D.J. Moore along with the No. 9 and No. 61 overall picks, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick, Poles decided not to wait and risk the deal falling apart.

“Scott and I have a pretty good relationship, being around each other on the road,” Poles said. “I think that played a big part of it. And trust. He wanted to get it done. He was clear with his intentions.”

The Panthers have said they would consider trading back to No. 2, so it’s still possible that the end result will be the Texans picking first, Panthers picking second and Bears picking ninth. But that would be between the Panthers and Texans. The Bears are satisfied that they got the deal they wanted, and got it more than a month before the draft.