Panthers owner admits a three-way trade for the No. 1 pick was in place two days before it happened

Panthers owner admits a three-way trade for the No. 1 pick was in place two days before it happened originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

In March 2022, Ryan Poles and the Bears traded the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers for the No. 9 pick, their second-round pick, a 2024-first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and wide receiver DJ Moore.

According to Panthers owner David Tepper, however, that wasn't how the trade was originally drawn up.

"We had a trade to go up to No. 2," Tepper said. "It was a three-way trade with Chicago. And we were gonna go up to No. 2. And the Texans were gonna trade up to No. 1, Chicago was gonna go to No. 2, and we were gonna trade with Chicago (for No. 9 pick).

"And we're waiting. I think we had that trade kinda arranged on Wednesday. I come from a world where you do trades, and I don't love when trades don't happen right away. So I'm driving Scott [Fitterer] crazy. I have to apologize to Scott for this, by the way.

"I said 'What's going on with these guys? This doesn't feel right. What's going on?' So Wednesday goes. Thursday goes. We get to Friday and the Texans changed their mind about doing the three-way trade. It's Friday afternoon and Scott talked to [Ryan] Poles. And basically, he got a value that he would accept for us to move up to No. 1."

It's no surprise a trade including both the Panthers and the Texas was discussed. Rumors and reports dropped leading up to the draft of the Bears being able to pull off a three-way trade for the No. 1 pick.

Alas, the Texans averted from the plan in place. Clearly, they either believed the Panthers would take Young and they could get their guy with the No. 2 pick. Or, they were satisfied with drafting whoever the Panthers didn't take at quarterback. Maybe, however, they weren't satisfied with the price they would have to pay in the trade.

Not to jump the gun, but it appears the Texans won that portion of the draft. C.J. Stroud, the quarterback they ended up taking with the No. 2 pick, is unbelievable. After helping the Texans to a late-game win over the Cincinnati Bengals, pundits dared to place the rookie in the MVP conversation.

This season, he's led the Texans to a 5-4 record, putting them firmly in the AFC playoff picture. He's thrown for 2,626 yards (291.3 yards per game) this season, along with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Already, he's one of the league's elite quarterbacks.

The Panthers opted for Bryce Young, who has missed one game this season due to injury. However, it's too early to judge Young. The Panthers' roster is horrid, not giving him much to work with under center. They're 1-8 this season.

From a Bears perspective, it's curious what they would've received, had the Texans been all-in on the trade. For what it's worth, it probably wouldn't have been too much to write home about. But an extra pick would almost certainly have been in the Bears' war chest had the Texans remained interested.

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