Chase Claypool is about as done with the Chicago Bears as you can be without the team actually saying it.
The young wide receiver, acquired last season for what turned out to be the No. 32 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, was a healthy scratch in last week’s game against the Denver Broncos and was again ruled inactive for the Bears’ “Thursday Night Football” game against the Washington Commanders this week.
Before the Commanders game, Bears general manager Ryan Poles went onto the Bears’ ESPN 1000 station and discussed Claypool’s Bears career in the past tense, adding that he wishes him luck in his future endeavors.
Via NBC Sports Chicago:
“You’re always disappointed in the situation and it’s definitely something I take ownership of,” Poles said. “Last year in the situation we were in, we wanted to add another receiver to the offense, not only to help us be more productive but also to help Justin take the next step.
“The right thought process was there and I feel comfortable with that. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and we were hoping for him to be a little bit more productive and be someone that could help us take it to the next level.
It’s not exactly a surprise the Bears and Claypool are at this point. Claypool had such a bad game in Week 1 that he had to apologize to the team while a lowlight reel went viral. A couple mediocre games later, Claypool was asked if the team was putting him in position to succeed. His response was simple: “No.”
Claypool hasn’t played since.
At this point, the Bears’ only options appear to be trading Claypool or cutting him. Poles said Thursday the team would take things “day by day to figure out what our next move is,” per ESPN, as Claypool remains away from the team.
Claypool is a pending free agent after this season and his value is at an all-time low. Any team that wants to take a chance on him is basically betting his entire Bears career was a mirage, even though Claypool had his issues while on the Pittsburgh Steelers as well. It’s not an attractive sell, so a trade for any real assets will be hard to work out for Chicago.
Wherever Claypool winds up, the decision to trade for him stands as arguably the worst decision of Poles’ Bears tenure, which is no mean feat after two years. The team sent a valuable second-round pick to Pittsburgh hoping Claypool would become a top target for young quarterback, Justin Fields, but he will finish his Bears career with a grand total of 191 receiving yards in 10 games.
The Bears averaged 4.4 yards per target to Claypool.