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Bears GM Ryan Poles breaks down blockbuster trade

Bears general manager Ryan Poles
Bears general manager Ryan Poles

General manager Ryan Poles expects the blockbuster trade the Bears made with the Carolina Panthers to pay dividends both this season and beyond.

In the deal—which became official Wednesday—the Bears acquired star receiver DJ Moore and four picks in the next three drafts in exchange for the No. 1 choice. The selections the Bears obtained are in the first (9) and second (61) rounds this year, the first round in 2024 and the second round in 2025.

"To add capital this year in the draft as well as the future and set ourselves up with two ones in '24, I couldn't be happier about that," Poles said Thursday at Halas Hall. "But when you add a player like DJ Moore, who can help us right now get better, continue to add weapons on our team, I was over the moon about that."

The Bears agreed to the trade last Friday, culminating what Poles described as "a long process" with a "lot of twists and turns" that ultimately will benefit both sides.

"I think both teams got what they wanted out of the deal and we both continued to get better," he said.

“The noise around it was crazy compensation. But I think at some point when you feel comfortable with what you’re receiving, you pull the trigger.” Bears GM Ryan Poles

Poles revealed that the Bears "had a lot of conversations with different teams" but that the Panthers emerged as their most likely trade partner following the NFL Combine. 

Asked to explain what he meant by a "lot of twists and turns," Poles said: "Teams in and out. Conversations where the compensation changed. I mean, I thought it was almost done one day. And then it went longer, and it pushed to 2-3 days. It took a lot of patience, but I'm glad we got to where we did." 

Poles conceded that he was tempted to wait until closer to the April 27-29 draft to trade the No. 1 pick, but he kept in mind that "if you get a little greedy, it can come back to get you, too." 

"The noise around it was crazy compensation," Poles said. "But I think at some point when you feel comfortable with what you're receiving, you pull the trigger. Sometimes you wait too long and things move on. Trades are hard. When you're a part of them and they pop up and you're having those conversations, they're not comfortable conversations, especially when you're moving on from a player. So, the longer that you're talking about it and thinking about it, you can start to sway a little bit. So, when we hit in a position where I was comfortable, we were good with it."

Moore arrives in Chicago after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Panthers. Selected by Carolina with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2018 draft out of Maryland, he has appeared in 80 games with 73 starts and caught 364 passes for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Moore topped 1,100 yards in three straight seasons—with 1,175 in 2019, 1,193 in 2020 and 1,157 in 2021. Last year he had 63 receptions for 888 yards and seven TDs for a Panthers offense that had three quarterbacks all start at least five games: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker, who will join Moore in Chicago after agreeing to a two-year deal Thursday.

Poles described Moore as "a receiver that can create separation and make big plays."

"This league shows you good teams have guys that make big plays in big moments," said the Bears GM. "That's finishing a game off in the fourth quarter, or if that's getting things kicked off in the beginning. DJ has those traits, and we're excited to have him.

"And [we're] not only getting a great player, but when you get to know DJ … you will understand he's a really good person. He fits our culture and what we're trying to do and keeps that room and our team and our locker room in a really good place."