Chase Claypool is about as done with the Chicago Bears as possible without the team actually saying it.
The young wide receiver, who was taken with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft last season, was a healthy scratch in last week’s game against the Denver Broncos and was once again declared inactive for the Bears’ “Thursday Night Football.” Game against the Washington Commanders this week.
Before the Commanders game, Bears general manager Ryan Poles went on the Bears’ ESPN 1000 channel and discussed Claypool’s Bears career in the past tense, adding that he wished him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Over NBC Sports Chicago:
“You’re always disappointed in the situation and that’s definitely something I can take ownership of,” Poles said. “In the situation we were in last year, 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’m comfortable with it. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and we were hoping he would be a little more productive and be someone that could help us get to the next level.”
It’s not exactly a surprise that 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 during it A lowlight reel went viral. A few mediocre games later, Claypool was asked if the team would put him in a position to succeed. His answer was simple: “No.”
Claypool hasn’t played since.
At this point, it appears the Bears’ only options are to trade Claypool or cut him. The Poles said on Thursday the team would “figure out day by day what our next step is,” per ESPNsince Claypool stays away from the team.
Claypool is a free agent after this season and his value is at an all-time low. Any team willing to take a chance is essentially assuming that his entire Bears career was a mirage, even though Claypool also had his struggles with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s not an attractive sale, so it will be difficult for Chicago to get a real asset deal.
Wherever Claypool ends up, the decision to trade for him is arguably the worst decision of the 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 total of 191 receiving yards in 10 games.
The Bears averaged 4.4 yards per target to Claypool.