The Chicago Bears are no longer in possession of the No. 1 overall pick after officially trading it to the Carolina Panthers this week for a significant haul, but there was apparently another trade suitor in play before the deal was done — one who backed down when they learned the Bears’ asking price.
According to Tashan Reed of The Athletic, the Las Vegas Raiders “explored” trading up to the top spot in the 2023 NFL draft, but they declined to make a formal offer for the No. 1 pick once they learned what Bears general manager Ryan Poles’ asking price was.
“In the ensuing weeks, the Raiders explored trading all the way up to the No. 1 pick, then owned by the Bears, multiple league sources told The Athletic,” Reed wrote in his March 17 article. “They never made a formal offer, but they did find out what Chicago’s asking price would be: This year’s first- and second-round picks, two future first-round picks and another future second-round pick. The Raiders deemed that price too steep, multiple league sources told The Athletic.”
In the end, the Bears got a fairly similar return for trading the pick to the Panthers, who were two picks behind the Raiders in the order. They acquired the ninth and 61st overall selections in the 2023 draft as well as Carolina’s 2024 first-rounder, 2025 second-rounder and star wide receiver D.J. Moore — who Poles insisted be included in the deal instead of the Panther’s counteroffer for an additional first-round pick.
Raiders Opted for Jimmy Garoppolo Over Rookie QB
Rather than make an aggressive play for their choice of rookie quarterback, the Raiders ultimately decided to replace Derek Carr with former San Francisco 49ers veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, signing him to a three-year, $72.75 million contract with $45 million guaranteed. Garoppolo was, perhaps, the best quarterback to hit the open market this offseason with the exception of trade targets Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson, and now they have a veteran piece that can still allow them to contend if they are able to patch some of the other holes in their roster.
Garoppolo went 7-3 as a starter for the 49ers in 2022 before an injury ended his season. He completed 301 of his 441 passes (68.3%) for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, which is generally better than Carr played for the Raiders in his 15 starts. If the Raiders can get the best out of Garoppolo, he could have a long-term place in Vegas.
There is also always the fun scenario where the Raiders hold firm at No. 7 and still see one of the top four quarterbacks fall into their clutches. At this point, who knows which of the quarterback prospects actually interest Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler, but Garoppolo’s shaky injury history alone should be enough to make them strongly consider drafting a quarterback if they feel the right guy is there when they pick. They also have an out in Garoppolo’s contract during the 2024 offseason.
Will Bears Use No. 9 Pick on Offense or Defense?
After originally controlling their own destiny, the Bears are now at the mercy of eight other teams when it comes to figuring out who they will be able to take at No. 9 overall. Three of the first four picks could easily be quarterbacks — or all of them if Arizona decides to auction off No. 3 to a team looking to move up and get their franchise guy — but the remaining picks are harder to predict other than that Will Anderson Jr. still figures to be the first defensive player off the board.
For the Bears, Jalen Carter’s fall to No. 9 still seems like their best-case scenario. Before his legal troubles caused his draft stock to take a hit, he was considered a contender to leap Anderson and be the first defensive player off the board, and the Bears might still hold the game-wrecking defensive tackle in high regard. If the Bears’ staff walks away from the pre-draft process feeling good about Carter, he could be a slam dunk of a pick.
The other more likely option is the Bears target one of the top two offensive tackles in the class: Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. or Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski. The Bears spent a good amount of time checking out Skoronski at the Wildcats’ pro day earlier this week, but either one of them would be an instant upgrade for their talent-thin tackle position, especially with limited options remaining in free agency.
Sleeper (but unlikely) pick: Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon.