The Steelers traded Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears just before the deadline, and it’s already looking like Pittsburgh is getting the better end of the deal.
If you were part of the group of fans worrying that the Pittsburgh Steelers did the wrong thing by trading Chase Claypool just before the deadline, perhaps this will help put your mind at ease. The athletic wide receiver played his first game as a member of the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
In his first game with his new team, the former Steelers receiver caught just 2 of 6 passes for 13 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, via ESPN stats. This is just 2.1 yards per target when throwing to Claypool, and almost all of his yards in this game came on one screen pass.
We do need to be fair here. Claypool only played 26 snaps in his debut game for the Bears, but quarterback Justin Fields made it a point to try to get him the ball. He just wasn’t very efficient. This is a chemistry that they will look to build as the season goes on.
In comparison, Claypool just played the Dolphins a few weeks ago while he was a member of the Steelers. In Kenny Pickett’s third-ever NFL start against Miami, Claypool caught 5 of 8 passes for 41 yards.
Steelers fans should still be happy with Claypool trade
Obviously, I’m not going to base everything on one performance — especially considering that it was Chase Claypool’s first game with the Bears and the fact that he played less than half of the team’s offensive snaps as he attempts to learn a new playbook. However, I am very confident that the Steelers still did the right thing.
From time to time, I have no doubt that Claypool will find himself in the spotlight with some massive plays down the field and some big-time catches. However, I think we pretty much know who he is at this point. At best, he’s a very low-end WR2 who simply isn’t consistent enough or a good enough route runner to be a reliable option in the passing game.
Claypool’s career is still young and he can improve in many aspects of the game, but I don’t see him changing a whole lot at this point. Perhaps the Bears will find a better way to utilize his skillset rather. For the Steelers, he was simply average as both a deep threat and a slot option.
I still think that, at the end of the day, getting a second-round pick for a struggling receiver with one year remaining on his rookie contract is going to look like an absolute steal. There’s no guarantee that the Steelers will find a better player with that pick, but with a wise investment, perhaps they can turn an inefficient WR into a cornerstone player for this football team.
If the season were to end today, the pick acquired by Pittsburgh in the trade with Chicago would be the 39th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Steelers should be able to get an excellent football player when picking this high (if they play their cards right).
I do wish Chase Claypool success in his future with the Bears, but I don’t think Pittsburgh Steelers fans should have to worry about whether or not this team made the right choice by trading him away. I will revisit this in the future, but I’m ecstatic to have a potentially early second-round pick for a player who was never going to sign an extension with Pittsburgh anyway.