Now that the Chase Claypool era is done, after just 10 games, the only way to look at the trade that brought him to Chicago is as an enormous swing and miss. GM Ryan Poles gave up what ended up being the No. 32 pick in the 2023 draft for a guy who created more headaches than scoring opportunities. In Claypool’s 10 games as a Chicago Bear, he managed just 18 balls for 191 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, he had numerous meltdowns, including a couple of sideline tantrums and whatever happened that made the Bears decide they were better off with Claypool watching games from home.
And yet, head coach Matt Eberflus said he had no regrets about the team bringing Claypool in last November.
“We took a shot on a guy to bring more skill in here and, again, for whatever reason– I'm not going to get into the reasons– it just didn't work out.”
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Even though we now know that the trade was a disaster for the Bears, the rationale behind the move last November is still understandable. The Bears had a young, exciting quarterback in Justin Fields but no playmakers around him. They wanted to see what he, and the rest of the offense could do, with a big, talented outside receiver. And there’s no such thing as bargain bin shopping for talented wideouts. If you don’t draft a top shelf pass catcher, you’re going to have to either shell out big bucks in free agency, or big time draft capital to acquire one.
Reports that Claypool was a malcontent might have been a red flag for Poles, but the Bears were desperate for talent at the time and beggars can’t be choosers on the trade market. GMs can only make deals for players who are available.
Throughout the Claypool saga, Bears brass have opted to take the high road. Not once has Eberflus or Poles thrown him under the bus. Eberflus continued that on Friday when describing the farewell phone call he and Poles made to Claypool.
“Wished him the best,” Eberflus said. “He appreciated his time here. And that was a good conversation that we had and again, we wish him the best.”