The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to make some moves at the 2022 trade deadline, including shipping third-year wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a second-round pick. It was a move that was initially shocking but is making more sense as both the Steelers and Claypool embrace the transitions.
Steelers Unsure Of Claypool’s Role
It’s been two seasons since the Steelers drafted Claypool with the 49th overall pick in the 2020 draft and he was performing rather well, with back-to-back years of over 800 receiving yards, a great start to a young career. In 2022, the Steelers then shifted Claypool over to the slot position after drafting another second-round receiver in George Pickens.
After being moved to the Bears, Claypool addressed his feelings in an interview about his offensive role change and the Steelers’ view of him from an organizational standpoint.
“I just think that at some point – the perspective on me, at some point, was like, ‘oh, he’s not a red-zone threat,’ for some reason. Or, ‘he’s not a deep-ball threat,’ for some reason,” Claypool said Wednesday. “I’m not sure why that happened. I started getting formationed away from those things. It was hard for me to make big plays because anytime there was a big play drawn up, it was like on the other side. I think it was just like the opportunity. Sometimes that’s how it goes, that’s just how the offensive system works at that time.”
Winds Of Change In The Windy City
A change of scenery can be a breath of fresh air for some people, and for Claypool, it should breathe some new life into his career. He will be the new primary weapon for quarterback Justin Fields and could be a key piece to Chicago’s long-term future. Claypool also finds comfort in knowing that Chicago values his talent and skills when it comes to making explosive plays.
“I think they look at me as a valuable player, obviously,” Claypool said. “That’s why they traded for me. I just think they will give me more opportunities to make plays and stuff like that.”
Because of the timing of everything, Claypool didn’t get much time to gel with his new teammates, nor learn an entirely new offense. Despite those issues, Claypool already feels good in the Bears system.
“I think there’s just more opportunity,” Claypool said. “I think he [offensive coordinator Luke Getsy] does a good job of giving you a chance to win on your routes regardless of where the coverage is. He’ll add little things in the route to help you get open.”
Debut Against Dolphins
While the Steelers had their bye week, Claypool was busy suiting up in his first game for the Bears against a team he already faced this season, the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately for Claypool, his debut didn’t go as well as he would have liked. He was targeted a total of five times catching two of those passes and ending with 13 yards in the game. His “most notable” play was the no-call of pass interference at the end of the game.
If the officials had penalized the defense, then Chicago may have been able to walk away with the victory. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as Miami would hold on to win 35-32. Despite his first game resulting in defeat, Claypool is excited about the potential the Bears’ offense has to offer.
“I thought it was super diverse what the offense could do,” Claypool told NBC Sports Chicago after the loss to the Dolphins. “We mix it up a lot, made some people’s jobs super easy, especially my job easier. Not trying to do anything to, to crazy with me. But I like what I will be able to do in this offense.”
Claypool will have time to establish a stronger relationship with his new teammates before their next matchup as they’ll host the Detroit Lions.
Will Chase Claypool’s career take off in Chicago? Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.