Matt Eberflus said on Monday that Ryan Poles and Ian Cunningham would be working their “tails off” up to Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Well, Eberflus was right. One day after trading Roquan Smith to Baltimore, Poles and Co. sent their own second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Chase Claypool.
The move gives Justin Fields another target for an offense that has taken positive strides in the last two weeks, scoring 62 points and accumulating 761 total yards against the Patriots and Cowboys.
Claypool is 24 and was drafted in the second round out of Notre Dame in 2020. He’s played in 39 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his rookie season was by far his most productive from a touchdown perspective, catching nine touchdowns and adding two more as a runner.
Since 2020, Claypool has had just three receiving touchdowns in 23 games. This season, with inconsistent quarterback play from Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, Claypool has caught 32 passes for 311 yards and a touchdown.
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound receiver adds another big-bodied target for Fields to utilize for the remainder of the season. According to Draft Profile, he “has size/strength/speed to bedevil singled up cornerbacks on 50/50 deep balls.”
Watch our NFL trade deadline show!
He hasn’t been as consistent on those 50/50 type of plays thus far in his NFL career, but he does have the physical makeup to provide that element to an offense. After the loss to the Miami Dolphins, Claypool told ESPN that “we’ve got playmakers. I haven’t had a go ball all year. … I’m not saying that’s on the play-calling, I’m just saying we need to try to find a way to scheme it up.”
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has mentioned plenty of times that the coaching staff is going to find ways to put their players in the best positions to succeed. That could mean some potential “go balls” for Claypool in this Bears offense. And after seeing the Bears’ receivers fail to make those types of plays against Dallas, this could be a big opportunity for Claypool to show he can make those plays.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have only won two games this season, but Claypool played a big part in the team’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. Claypool caught seven passes on seven targets for 96 yards and his 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter helped secure the victory.
Claypool’s most productive game in his career came in Week 5 of last season against the Denver Broncos. He caught five passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in a 27-19 win.
If the Bears are going to get the best evaluation out of Fields, he needs playmakers, and Poles added a young receiver to help make that happen.