4 reasons the Carolina Panthers are entering win-now mode in 2023

Frank Reich
Frank Reich / Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
Scott Fitterer / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers traded for the No. 1 pick

On March 10, the Carolina Panthers shocked the NFL world by moving all the way up from No. 9 overall to control the 2023 NFL Draft by trading with the Chicago Bears. If the team would’ve stayed firm, the chances of getting one of the top three quarterbacks were slim.

By moving up to the top pick, the Panthers will have their choice of which quarterback can become the team's potential franchise player. 

The move with the Bears obviously did not come cheap. In addition to their 2023 pick swap, Carolina gave up a second-rounder this year, their 2024 first-round selection, another second-rounder in 2025, and wide receiver D.J. Moore to further sweeten the pot.

Allegedly the Panthers brass - including general manager Scott Fitterer - were brought to tears when the team called Moore to inform him of the trade. The wideout embodied what it meant to “Keep Pounding” and was a true Panther hero.

In an attempt to get a franchise player, sometimes teams have to make tough decisions. That’s what the Panthers did in pursuit of emerging from irrelevancy and into contention.

By acquiring the first pick, Carolina has been aggressive in upgrading their fortunes under center. This is an example of trying to change the narrative and hopefully make a playoff return soon.