The Carolina Panthers lost to the Chicago Bears 16-13 on Thursday night, in a game between two terrible teams that could have large implications. Thanks to a trade before the 2023 NFL Draft, Chicago owns Carolina's first pick in the 2024 draft, so by beating the Panthers, the Bears actually helped themselves. And that trade currently looks horrible for Carolina.
The Bears finished with the NFL's worst record last season and therefore earned the top pick in the draft. Seeing that they had selected Justin Fields with the 11th pick in the 2021 draft, it made sense to put the No. 1 pick up for sale. On March 10, the Panthers bought, shipping a massive haul to Chicago to get it. The Bears received Carolina's first- and second-round selections (No. 9 and No. 61), a first-rounder in 2024, a second-rounder in 2025 and receiver D.J. Moore. With the No. 1 pick, the Panthers took Bryce Young over fellow quarterback C.J. Stroud. While it's early, that appears to have been a major mistake.
The Bears flipped the No. 9 pick, sending it to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 10th pick and a fourth-rounder. With that pick, the Eagles selected defensive lineman Jalen Carter, who is currently tearing up the league. The Bears also moved the 61st pick, jumping up to No. 56 to select Tyrique Stevenson. At 61, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected tight end Brenton Strange, but a number of pretty darn good players will still on the board.
Perhaps the worst part is that the Panthers are currently 1-8, tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the worst record in the NFL. There's a very real possibility that their 2024 first-rounder winds up being the No. 1 pick. The Bears could be in a situation to select quarterback Caleb Williams, who many see as a generational talent. Even if it winds up being the second pick, Chicago could select North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, or receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. And they'll still get a second-rounder in 2025.
Through his first eight career games, Young is completing 62.8 percent of his passes, for 1,560 yards, with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's averaging a paltry 5.38 yards per attempt and his passer rating (75.9) currently ranks 29th in the NFL and his QBR entering entering Thursday night (29.5) ranked 32nd in the NFL. He hasn't been good.
Obviously it's difficult to draw conclusions on how Young will be moving forward, but he has struggled thus far. The Panthers need him to turn into an elite franchise quarterback or that trade will look like a massive bust.