Chase Claypool is about as finished with the franchise as you can get without the Chicago Bears explicitly admitting it.
The young wide receiver was a healthy scratch in last week’s game against the Denver Broncos and was once more declared inactive for the Bears’ “Thursday Night Football” game against the Washington Commanders this week. He was acquired last season for what ended up being the No. 32 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Ryan Poles, the general manager of the Bears, appeared on the Bears’ ESPN 1000 station prior to the Commanders game and talked about Claypool’s Bears career in the past tense while also wishing him success in his future pursuits.
Through NBC Sports Chicago:
“You’re always disappointed in the situation and it’s definitely something I take ownership of,” Poles said. “Last year in the situation we were in, 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 feel comfortable with that. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and we were hoping for him to be a little bit more productive and be someone that could help us take it to the next level.
“I wish him luck.”
At this point, the presence of the Bears and Claypool is hardly surprising. Week 1’s performance by Claypool was so poor that he was forced to address the team as a lowlight reel went viral. After a few unimpressive games, Claypool was questioned about whether the group was setting him up for success. His answer was short and sweet: “No.”
The Bears’ only alternatives at this point seem to be cutting Claypool or dealing him. According to ESPN, Poles stated on Thursday that the team would determine its next course of action “day by day” while Claypool is still away from the squad.
After this season, Claypool will become a free agent, and his worth has never been lower. Even though Claypool had his problems while playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers as well, any team that wants to take a chance on him is essentially betting that his entire Bears career was a mirage. A trade for any real assets will be challenging for Chicago to complete since it is not a compelling sale.
Whichever team Claypool joins, the decision to trade for him likely ranks as the worst of Poles’ two-year time with the Bears. The Bears sent a prized second-round pick to Pittsburgh in the hopes that Claypool would develop into one of Justin Fields’ top targets, but he will end his career with just 191 receiving yards over the course of 10 games.
To Claypool, the Bears averaged 4.4 yards per target.