Chase Claypool hasn’t been with the Chicago Bears for a full calendar year and it seems as if the team is actively looking for ways to distance itself from the wide receiver.
After originally saying that he was expecting Claypool to re-join the team at Halas Hall on Monday, Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus has back-tracked on that statement. During his interview with ESPN 1000-AM (h/t Silvy) on Monday morning, Eberflus said Claypool will *NOT* be with the team this week as it prepares for its Week 5 matchup against the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football. And he re-iterated those remarks during his Monday press conference at Halas Hall:
This comes on the heels of Claypool not even being with the team on Sunday after being listed with the game-day inactives. That the Bears had to clarify whether to not that was on purpose was wild. And that they had to walk back Eberflus’ original comments shortly after he made them is ridiculous in its own right.
In short, Claypool and the Bears have been putting on a masterclass of ineptitude in public relations. Sure, it’s messy now. However, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. It is flickering. And you might need to squint to see it. But I think I see it.
Is a Chase Claypool Trade Coming?
The Claypool experience will come to an end one way or another. And it might be sooner than you might otherwise expect. NFL reporter Jordan Schultz hears the Bears are actively seeking to trade Chase Claypool.
Schultz reports that Bears GM Ryan Poles has been calling receiver-needy teams and it doesn’t sound like he is asking for much in return. Requesting a future draft pick in the 5th or 6th rounds doesn’t seem like too much of an ask. Admittedly, that the Bears could be on the brink of trading a player that they acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers for what turned out to be the No. 32 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is going to sting like the dickens. But it is better than the alternative (which would be getting nothing at all).
I imagine Chicago’s front office being at a point where they’re happy getting something instead of nothing. Frankly, I’m there myself. Then again, the Bears might be in a place where they’re OK cutting ties altogether. A great catch from Aaron Leming (who does wonderful work at Bear Report and Windy City Gridiron) and Matt Eurich (CBS Sports social media producer) who caught NFL On FOX insider Jay Glazer sharing a nugget that Claypool’s future with the team was “in question” and described as not good. There was even an anecdote in which Glazer hinted at the team taking a wait-and-see approach to see if they’ll keep him inactive or release him. Again, it really seems like the Bears have reached their breaking point with Claypool. And I can’t say I blame ’em.
It isn’t just one thing with Chase Claypool
The Claypool experience has gone from bad to worse. And I think this segment from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport speaks volumes:
“It’s not just his comments wondering if the coaches put him in the right position. It’s really just the whole thing together. The lack of effort in Week 1, the frustration, the play, the coaching comments, all of it. … And actually, the offense looked pretty fine without him. He was told not to come to the game. He now will stay away from the team while they handle the situation. It does not sound good for his future there. We will see where this ends up going.”
It was one thing for Claypool to get out of the gates slowly after the trade. Picking up a new offense in the middle of the season is challenging enough. But it feels like things have only gotten worse from that point. Claypool has said the right things in terms of having hope for the future and that he was going to turn things around on an individual level. Unfortunately, his actions have not matched his words. Instead of turning a corner after an offseason in which his coaches and teammates went to bat for him, Claypool has instead needed to be pulled aside by teammates questioning his effort and had to be threatened with a benching after Week 1. And in the process, he has essentially it a pile of cash on fire just before hitting free agency. What a turn of events.
In the end, I feel nothing but disappointment when I hear the name Chase Claypool. I lauded GM Ryan Poles for aggressively swinging for a trade to get some much-needed receiver help. For me, it was a sign of faith in Justin Fields’ development as a quarterback. As it turns out, Poles’ swing for the fences is a big whiff. And that admission might be our first step toward having some uncomfortable conversations about Poles’ future running the show in Chicago.