The Chicago Bears made a bold move last year when they traded their second-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Chase Claypool. The Bears hoped that Claypool would be a dynamic weapon for their rookie quarterback Justin Fields and help them contend in the NFC North. However, the trade has turned out to be a disaster for the Bears, who are now 0-4 and have one of the worst offenses in the league. Claypool has been a disappointment on and off the field, and the Bears seem ready to part ways with him.
Claypool’s lack of production and effort
Claypool had a promising start to his career with the Steelers, who drafted him in the second round in 2020. He had 873 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, and 721 yards and six touchdowns in his second season. However, he also had some issues with his attitude and work ethic, and the Steelers decided to trade him to the Bears in November 2022.
The Bears expected Claypool to be a big-play threat for Fields, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft. However, Claypool has been a bust in Chicago, catching only 18 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown in 10 games. He has also been criticized for his poor effort and lack of focus, especially in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers, when he was seen jogging on routes and dropping passes. He later apologized to his teammates and coaches for his performance.
Claypool’s criticism of the coaches and absence from the game
Claypool’s frustration with his role and the Bears’ offense boiled over last week, when he openly questioned the coaching staff’s decisions and schemes. He said that the Bears were not putting him in the best position to succeed, and that he had to “make do with what he had”. He also implied that he was not getting enough targets or opportunities to showcase his skills.
The Bears did not appreciate Claypool’s comments, and decided to make him inactive for their Week 4 game against the Denver Broncos. Claypool was not even at the stadium, and the Bears gave conflicting explanations for his absence. Head coach Matt Eberflus initially said that Claypool was given the option to come to the game or stay home, and chose to stay home. However, the team later issued a statement saying that Eberflus misspoke, and that the Bears told Claypool to stay home.
The Bears lost the game to the Broncos, 31-28, after blowing a 28-7 lead in the second half. It was the biggest collapse in franchise history, and dropped the Bears to the bottom of the NFL standings. Claypool’s absence and attitude did not help the team’s morale or chemistry, and showed how dysfunctional the Bears have become.
Claypool’s trade value and future with the Bears
The Bears are now reportedly looking to trade Claypool, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. The Bears hope to get a fifth or sixth round pick for him, which would be a huge loss compared to the second round pick they gave up for him less than a year ago. However, Claypool’s value has plummeted due to his lack of production, effort, and professionalism. He has also been dealing with some injuries, which have limited his availability and effectiveness.
It is unlikely that any team would be willing to take a chance on Claypool, who has proven to be more trouble than he is worth. The Bears might have to cut him if they cannot find a trade partner, and eat the remaining salary on his contract. Claypool’s tenure with the Bears has been a complete failure, and a costly mistake for the franchise.