The Chase Claypool Trade is a Full-on Investment in Justin Fields

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The Chase Claypool Trade is a Full-on Investment in Justin Fields

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles — who cut his teeth as a scout and helped build the Kansas City Chiefs roster that won a Super Bowl, a pair of AFC Championships, and has made four straight AFC title games — made it clear on Tuesday that he loves what receiver Chase Claypool brings to the table for the Bears.

“I am excited about this player,” Poles told reporters (you can watch his press conference here). “I’ve really liked the way that our offense is starting to come together and move. I thought it was important to add another impact player for our offense to go along with the guys that we currently have in the receiver’s room right now.”

I agree with Poles’ assessment. Claypool is a big-bodied deep threat you can count on for 60-plus catches. I also believe that Claypool has the potential to be a guy who can do even more here in Chicago. If you read the tea leaves of Poles’ comments on Tuesday, so does he.

Sure, we would have loved for the second-round pick that the Bears sent the Steelers to have been the Ravens’ second-rounder. But let’s not lose sight of the over-arching message sent by Poles when he flipped the Bears’ second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to acquire Claypool.

Claypool gives Justin Fields a big wide receiver who thrives in the scheme that Fields thrives in. This wasn’t Ryan Poles going to get a wide receiver for the sake of getting a wide receiver. There were plenty available for an equal or lesser cost. This was Poles going to get his quarterback a wide receiver that fits his mold. We can now put the “is Fields the guy?” conversations to bed.

I wrote this week that Fields had strung together two of the best performances of his young career the past two weeks against New England and Dallas. And in retrospect, those performances proved very timely in the grand scheme of things.

If the Bears GM was needing a sign from Fields that he was the guy, Fields delivered it in back-to-back games. And Poles knows it.

“I like the way Justin is trending,” Poles said (re-iterating something he said recently before the team’s win in New England). “And I think adding another big body who’s physical, explosive, great leaping ability, can stretch the field but also is violent with the ball in his hands, as well as a blocker, enhances everyone around him.”

Poles knew that if he wanted to ensure Fields continued trending in that direction, he needed some help. I scathingly wrote about how negligent Poles’ lack of offseason additions around Fields was culpable in the embarrassing beating he took a few weeks ago on Thursday Night Football against the Washington Commanders.

Well, Poles agreed — at least to some extent. Because he went and got Fields a new weapon to compliment an offense that is trending towards competent with back-to-back 29-plus point performances on the road and 29-plus points in three of their last four games — all of which came on the road against the Vikings, Patriots, and Cowboys.

When asked if his decision to pay a premium for Claypool was impacted by the thin wide receiver free agent class that’s coming up this spring, Poles affirmed that theory. And in doing so, said something more — albeit indirectly — about his confidence in Fields:

“That’s part of my job and part of my crew upstairs is you have to do a little bit of forecasting and looking down the road,” Poles said. “I just didn’t feel completely comfortable with that. Not to say there’s not good players there. I just didn’t feel comfortable with not maybe being a little bit more aggressive at this point.”

Poles said he and his front office has to “do a little bit of forecasting and looking down the road.” And if he’s using that logic in a decision to pony up for a wide receiver that compliments Fields so perfectly, then he’s sold on Fields.

In the end, Poles’ decision to go get Claypool — perhaps even overpay a little bit for him — is a ringing endorsement of Fields, and a promise that this front office believes Fields is the guy under center in Chicago. Let’s go.


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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.