Steelers Trading Chase Claypool to Chicago

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - The Chicago Bears are acquiring Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, according to ESPN's Field Yates. Additional reporting from NFL Network's Tom Pelissero states that Chicago will send a 2023 second-round pick back to Pittsburgh in the trade. 

Claypool was drafted 49th overall by the Steelers in the 2020 NFL Draft,  finishing top-three in targets in both of his first two seasons in Pittsburgh. Claypool slightly fell out of favor with the Steelers, finishing with 11 receptions through the first four weeks of the season. However, his involvement was crucial in Pittsburgh's win over the Tampa Bay Buccneers in Week 5, reeling in crucial third-down conversions as well as one of Pittsburgh's two touchdowns on the day. 

Claypool's -7.7% receiving DVOA and 18 receiving DYAR would both be the highest on the roster. He's currently ahead of Darnell Mooney (-13.3%, -6) as the only other Bears receiver with a minimum 32 passes, as well as non-qualifiers Dante Pettis (-7.8%, 7) and Equanimeous St. Brown (-10.5%, 4).

According to OverTheCap, Claypool will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season, with a cap hit of $2.1 million next year.  

Comments

24 comments, Last at 07 Nov 2022, 10:41am

#1 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:59pm

The Bears traded FOR a reciever?

Points: 0

#2 by jds // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:59pm

I thought Chicago were sellers at the trade deadline?  Are they trying to say that next year is the year we get receivers for Fields?  

Points: 0

#3 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:04pm

Structurally, a terrible trade. Giving a high 2nd Rounder from whom you'd have gotten 5 cheaper seasons out of for a former 2nd Rounder whom you'll now get only 2+ cheaper seasons out of. The '+' part of which is going nowhere. And who isn't particularly playing at a 1st Round level.

I like everything else about the trade. Justin's done enough to justify figuring he'll open training camp next year as still the starter. Barring bad injury he'll now have two starter-level receivers to toss the ball to after working with them through an entire offseason. And whatever $$$ Claypool may demand come '24, the Bears will have cap room for.

Points: 0

#4 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:06pm

Obviously a good trade for Pittsburgh. A no-brainer, really.

Points: 0

#5 by rpwong // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:13pm

There's more to it than that. The Bears:

  • gave Fields a big receiver who can win contested catches
  • screwed the Packers, who were reportedly about to get Claypool
  • possibly nudged Aaron Rodgers (self-described "owner" of the Chicago Bears) closer to retirement

It's impossible that the Bears weren't thinking about GB/Rodgers when they negotiated the trade.

Points: 0

#9 by Johnny Ocean // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:34pm

Many WR's have come and gone from the Big Ben era in Pittsburgh.  None have had consistent success with their new teams.  Of course the jury is still out on Ju Ju in KC who has possibly the easiest spot to excel in.  Big Ben had the ability to make average WR's into rock stars, head cases into productive players.  In the cold, cold world outside of Pittsburgh, success was much harder to come by and trouble was much easier to find.

Points: 0

#16 by JonesJon // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:59pm

Emmanuel Sanders rattled off 3 straight 1000 yard seasons as soon as he left

Points: 0

#22 by dbostedo // Nov 02, 2022 - 12:27pm

Plaxico Burress nearly did the same... he had 2, and 1 year with 988 yards. Though he left about when Ben R. showed up... so maybe doesn't qualify.

Points: 0

#6 by Harris // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:15pm

Trade Quinn, sure. He'll be retired the next time the Bears are relevant, so get something for him while you can. But how does trading a young, supremely talented LB square with trading a high pick for a WR? They're not going anywhere this year--just wait until April and draft a WR then.

Points: 0

#8 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:23pm

Yeah, it doesn't seem to jive with everything else we've seen. Strange.

Points: 0

#10 by colonialbob // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:36pm

I think you have to include the "he vocally did not want to be there" factor for the Roquan Smith trade. Obviously you can criticize the front office for letting it get to that point, but if that's a given I think they did alright.

Points: 0

#12 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:04pm

They're not going anywhere this year--just wait until April and draft a WR then.

Upgrading the offense mid-year helps evaluations quite a bit, though. They only tossed guys on the defensive side, and they were going to lose/cut both of them anyway.

Claypool's way more valuable than an average 2nd round pick. Obviously you lose out on the upside and the extra years at cheap, which is why it cost a 2nd round pick.

Points: 0

#13 by Harris // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:23pm

I guess, but the Bears aren't going anywhere this year. Are those extra few months of evaluation worth all those cheap extra years?

Points: 0

#18 by Pat // Nov 01, 2022 - 4:31pm

It could be. I mean, it's the difference between knowing you need another top WR or if you can focus somewhere else. Plus, of course, it's easy to focus on Ja'Marr Chase as the reason for the Bengals offseason explosion, but Higgins had himself a friggin' year too.

Points: 0

#17 by JonesJon // Nov 01, 2022 - 4:04pm

Smith is good but he isn't $100 million dollar contract good and that is what he wants. He isn't in the same league as Leonard and Warner.

Points: 0

#7 by Johnny Ocean // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:22pm

Could it be that Chicago's ownership can no longer look upon the futility that is Justin Fields?  Have they been guilted into obtaining at least one NFL level WR to give Fields a chance to succeed?  Of course, they might move mountains to screw Green Bay but it seems to me that they may have relented and decided to give their long suffering QB some help. Of course it would not be a Chicago trade without overpayment but maybe the excess they threw at the Steelers was part of their penance...

Points: 0

#11 by dmb // Nov 01, 2022 - 2:39pm

I know the reality is that the Bears probably made this deal primarily to give Fields some support (and better evaluate him), and perhaps secondarily to thwart the Packers.

However, solely for the entertainment value, I'm hoping against all odds that the Bears are also planning to screw over the Steelers by immediately flipping Claypool to the Ravens for Roquan Smith and another pick for their trouble -- basically making the Bears a coyote funneling a player to a division rival against the Steelers' wishes. A team wreaking maximum havoc and picking up some mid-round picks in the process? That's a strategy I can get behind.

Points: 0

#20 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 01, 2022 - 9:47pm

basically making the Bears a coyote funneling a player to a division rival against the Steelers' wishes. 

So... What the Jets did to the Packers with Favre, after laundering him first? 

Points: 0

#14 by JS // Nov 01, 2022 - 3:25pm

It's kind of ridiculous to think an NFL front office would make a deal even partly in order to screw another team, even a hated rival. Any responsible, professional franchise would . . . oh, wait.

Seriously, though, the difference Claypool would make for GB is likely small; certainly this year he'd be one more guy who needs to get on the same page with Exalted Leader Aaron Rodgers.

Points: 0

#19 by TomC // Nov 01, 2022 - 7:51pm

As a Bears fan, I am conflicted on this.

As a Justin Fields (dynasty) fantasy owner, I am ecstatic.

Points: 0

#21 by Theo // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:02pm

With Pickens emerging, Claypool became expendable.

And he didnt seem to be very happy in Pittsburgh anyway.

Points: 0

#23 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 02, 2022 - 10:14pm

And you'd probably prefer it be Baltimores 2nd but I guess they do have some control over their own. 

The have control over two (2!) WRs next in Mooney and Velus. That's it. No RFAs. No ERFAs. Nothing else. Claypool now makes it 3. This doesn't, and shouldn't, preclude them drafting another. In fact they should do it early (most likely 1st, 2nd at worst, thankfully for them they have another 2nd) anyway. A JSN would start to round it out quite nicely actually (real chance he slips to where the Bears end up too, with the whole Marvin Harrison Jr obsession).

As for Pitt, I'm not sure why they hate him. He served a nice role there. Although it does open up the door for THEM to draft...Jordan Addison! Ha!  

Points: 0

#24 by Steve in WI // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:41am

Yeah, I think part of what this move does is give them flexibility on what position to use their first round pick on. WR is still a big need of course, but now if they believe the best player available is an offensive tackle, a pass rusher, or a 3 technique, it wouldn't be crazy to take him and draft a WR in the 2nd round.

If they go into next season with Claypool/Mooney/a promising rookie as their top 3 receivers, they still won't have a top-half receiving corps but at least they won't be laughably bad.

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Cale
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Cale Clinton. Use promo code CALE to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Cale.