After a Week 15 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina has now lost two more games in a row, including Sunday's 26-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. No matter what happens in the remaining games this season, no other team can finish ahead of the Panthers in the NFL playoff draft.
One year ago, before Chicago traded up the pick, Bears GM Ryan Poles said he would need to “f*** off” to go No. 1 overall. Justin Fields' 2023 season didn't exactly go according to plan, as the Bears lost five of their first six games and Fields missed four games with an injury to his right (throwing) thumb. He's back in action, and although Fields' production remains spotty, the Bears have played better football after a rough start to the season.
But is Fields still their franchise QB? That remains to be seen. Poles and his staff did not draft Fields, whose fifth-year option should be picked up this upcoming offseason. He's also eligible for a contract extension, but the Bears may feel differently about the situation this time around.
In addition to the Panthers' top pick, Chicago also has its own No. 1 overall pick, which could fall in or just outside the top 10. The Bears traded their second-round pick in 2024 to Washington for Montez Sweat, but will acquire the No. 4 overall pick to the Eagles as part of a trade on opening night of the 2023 draft.
The 2024 NFL Draft will be held April 25-27 in Detroit.