The Carolina Panthers’ 26-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars was a huge win for the Chicago Bears on Sunday. That loss guaranteed the Panthers will finish with the worst record in the NFL this season, meaning their draft slot will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
That pick now belongs to the Bears as part of last year’s trade between the two teams that saw the Panthers move up to No. 1 to select quarterback Bryce Young.
With the No. 1 overall pick now secured, the Bears would be wise to take the same approach they took a year and trade for a haul of picks and players.
The improvement and progress of quarterback Justin Fields should make that an easy decision.
There would be significant interest in that pick due to the presence of quarterbacks Caleb Williams (USC) and Drake Maye (North Carolina) at the top of the class.
But Fields has played well enough, is still young enough, and has enough upside that the Bears should be comfortable with him as their franchise quarterback, especially if they continue to put players around him.
That is where trading the No. 1 pick could come into play.
When the Bears had the No. 1 pick a year ago they traded it to Carolina for a package of picks and players that has included wide receiver D.J. Moore, offensive tackle Darnell Wright, cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, the No. 1 overall pick in 2024 and a 2025 second-round pick.
That is already three starters and potentially more based on those future picks.
It has been an incredible haul for the Bears and a potentially franchise-changing deal. Even if they do not get that big of a haul this season they could still move down a couple of spots in a deal with a team needing a quarterback and select somebody like Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
Given the progress of Fields, surrounding him with a wide receiver group built around Moore and Harrison Jr. would have the potential to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFC. They should strongly consider it now that they have the option.