Chicago Bears trade for Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Philadelphia.

The Bears added wide receiver help for their offense on Tuesday.

Quarterback Justin Fields will have at least one key reinforcement in receiver Chase Claypool. The Bears are trading a 2023 second-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in return for Claypool. ESPN’s Field Yates reported the news first.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles was highly active ahead of Tuesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. Last week, he sent defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a fourth-round pick. On Monday, he traded linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens for a 2023 second-round pick, a 2023 fifth-round pick and linebacker A.J. Klein.

Less than 24 hours later, Poles was at it again.

The Steelers will receive the Bears’ original second-round pick, not the second-round pick they acquired Monday in exchange for Smith. That is likely to be the higher of their two second-round picks, potentially a top-40 pick. The latest move leaves the Bears with eight draft picks next spring, with a compensatory pick potentially coming too, according to

Claypool was a 2020 second-round draft pick (49th overall) of the Steelers coming out of Notre Dame. He had 62 receptions for 873 yards with 11 total touchdowns as a rookie. In 2021, his touchdown numbers weren’t quite as high (only two), but he still caught 59 passes for 860 yards.

So far this season, with the Steelers switching between quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, Claypool has 32 catches for 311 yards and a touchdown in eight games.

The Bears added talent to a receiver position where they have been lacking in weapons. Darnell Mooney leads the Bears with 25 catches for 364 receiving yards. At the receiver position, Equanimeous St. Brown is the next best with 11 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Other receivers currently on the roster include Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, Velus Jones Jr. and Dante Pettis. The Bears waived Isaiah Coulter on Tuesday to make room for Claypool. Adding Claypool to the mix makes him a clear top-two option, along with Mooney.

“You can never have enough weapons and guys that help your quarterback gain confidence,” Poles said Tuesday at Halas Hall. “I know a lot of the guys are starting to make plays for us. Adding another receiver is going to allow [Fields] to continue to grow and gain that confidence.”

Coming out of Notre Dame, Claypool ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, which is impressive for anyone, but especially for someone who measures 6-foot-4, 238 pounds. The Bears don’t have anyone like him, athletically.

It’s important, too, to look at the full NFL landscape when assessing this trade. The top two receivers who were scheduled to become free agents in 2023 were Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, both of whom were traded and signed big-money extensions in the offseason.

The remaining free-agent group at receiver next March looks particularly thin. Names such as Jakobi Meyers, Allen Lazard, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman don’t scream No. 1 receiver. In August, compiled a list of the top 25 free agents next March, and didn’t include a single receiver in the top 25.

The free-agent options aren’t great, and the draft will always be something of a crapshoot. Claypool has two years of proven production under his belt, and he did it with a severely limited aging quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger.

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

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.