The Chicago Bears acquired Chase Claypool for a second-round pick last season. With Justin Fields on the rise, Claypool was meant to bolster a weak receiving corps and help the Bears take the next step offensively.
Well, if you're here, you probably know the gist of the story. Claypool has been stunningly bad in Chicago. He has four receptions on 14 targets for 51 yards through three weeks. Rather than look for solutions internally, Claypool made his frustrations public after Week 3. He blamed the Bears' coaching staff for not using him properly. Then, Chicago axed him from the active roster and put him on the trade market.
Bears GM Ryan Poles has been actively calling teams in search of a fifth or sixth-round pick, according to NFL insider Jordan Schultz.
Those who have watched Claypool half-run routes and bobble passes in Chicago may be hesitant to endorse a trade to your favorite team, but he's a 25-year-old former second-round pick. He's only a couple years removed from a 956-yard campaign with the Steelers, so someone in a position of power will talk themselves into Claypool.
A late day-three pick is low enough risk to warrant the investment for a team desperate for help on the WR front. Maybe all Claypool needs is a change of scenery and a sudden realization that his lax efforts in Chicago are a one-way ticket out of the NFL.
These teams are worth monitoring.
No. 3 Chase Claypool trade suitor: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers could use another weapon for No. 1 pick Bryce Young. It's risky to bring Claypool into another losing situation, but there's a difference between directionless (Bears) and deliberate (Panthers). Carolina has a plan, an offensive head coach in Frank Reich, and a clear role for Claypool to step into.
Veteran Adam Thielen has developed strong chemistry with Young, but Carolina's receiving options are limited. Thielen is 33 years old, little more than a placeholder to get Young acclimated to the NFL game. D.J. Clark hasn't broken the 700-yard mark since 2020. There's obvious belief in second-round pick Jonathan Mingo, but Carolina's depth chart at WR is shallow. There's no two ways about it.
Claypool could immediately step into a healthy target share. His age aligns with Carolina's competitive timeline and, let's speak it true, Bryce Young is already noticeably better than Justin Fields. One has to imagine the root of Claypool's frustration is the poor QB play in Chicago. Any upgrade — not to mention one with Young's upward trajectory — could work miracles.
Of course, Carolina should tread carefully here. Even if Claypool lives up to his billing on the field, there are locker room and general effort concerns that now factor into the equation. He quit on the Bears. What's to stop him from quitting on the Panthers?