Panthers trade with Bears for No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft


Which QB will go No. 1 and join new head coach Frank Reich in Carolina?

Those waiting for Draft Day drama on the No. 1 overall pick are not going to get it because the Chicago Bears have made their decision. The Carolina Panthers will now pick first overall, as new head coach Frank Reich will get the quarterback of his choice to build around.


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This is a deal that not only sends ripples through the NFL Draft betting markets, but also the Super Bowl, NFC and NFC South markets. The NFC South was thought to be the weakest of the divisions and any sort of move for a quarterback was going to move the odds. The Saints recently added Derek Carr and that got some run, but Lamar Jackson to the Falcons or the Panthers picking up the No. 1 pick was going to be the catalyst for a big adjustment. We’ve now gotten one of those things to happen.

Panthers trade for first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft from the Bears

Once the Bears announced that they weren’t going to trade Justin Fields, it was only a matter of time until GM Ryan Poles found the proper trade partner and it seems that Carolina was the one. The Panthers gave up a lot to get the QB of the future.

Here’s what the Panthers gave up in the deal:

  • First-round pick in 2023 (No. 9)
  • Second-round pick in 2023 (No. 61)
  • First-round pick in 2024
  • Second-round pick in 2025
  • WR D.J. Moore

Carolina has secured either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud (or maybe Anthony Richardson?!), but Laviska Shenault is now the No. 1 WR in Charlotte, so that’s a position that they will have to address in free agency or with other draft capital.

Carolina Panthers betting odds

I’ll be nice and say that the NFC South was “balanced” prior to this deal. The truth is that it was just a bad division overall with Tom Brady’s retirement and a general lack of quarterback talent. The Carr acquisition pushed the Saints into the favorite for the division (+140) and the team with the shortest odds for the Super Bowl from the division (+4000), but the presence of a new signal caller in Carolina has had an impact.

The Panthers are +5500 to win the Super Bowl, with a price of +200 to win the NFC South and +2200 to win the NFC.

Interestingly enough, the Bears moved from +8000 to +7000 to win the Super Bowl adding a bona fide wide receiver in Moore for Fields to throw to and give opposing defenses something to keep them honest.

First overall pick odds: Bryce Young or CJ Stroud

Maybe the Panthers will take Richardson, who was the star of the NFL Combine, but it seems far likelier that Carolina will make its choice between the consensus top two quarterback options. Reich certainly had to have a big grin on his face about the trade considering his former employer, the Indianapolis Colts, is also in the mix for a quarterback.

DraftKings Sportsbook briefly took down the first overall pick odds after the trade, but reopened with Stroud as the -160 favorite. The line moved to -175 rather quickly and then moved even higher to -200, with Young at +165 and Richardson at +550.

The quarterbacks that Reich had in Indy were Sam Ehlinger, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Brian Hoyer and Andrew Luck. He had Wentz and Nick Foles as the OC in Philadelphia. His new QB will have a much, much higher ceiling than that collection of guys, so it’s now a matter of preference.

The clear knock on Young is his size at 5-foot-10. He basically graded out the same from a size standpoint as Kyler Murray, who still went No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Young is a different player and certainly a more accomplished pocket passer, as Murray only started one season at Oklahoma before going in the draft. Young was a two-year starter at Alabama.

Stroud’s mobility had always been a question, at least up until the CFP Semifinal game against Georgia. He’s also had elite talent at wide receiver to throw to with several first-round picks that created separation on virtually every play.

The Panthers are now on the clock, but this won’t be the last NFL Draft deal prior to the big event on April 27.