Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Matt Ryan Helped Convince Ryan Poles To Dump Chase Claypool

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Ryan Poles wanted to get Justin Fields more help in 2022. So he decided to make a bold move at the trade deadline, sending a 2nd round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for talented receiver Chase Claypool. Nobody could argue the talent. He was 6’4 with 4.4 speed and had two good years to start his career. However, it appeared he’d lost value in a crowded receiver room. It was hoped he would regain his old form with more opportunities with the Chicago Bears. Instead, he became the poster child for arguably the worst trade since the Mitch Trubisky move in 2017.

Claypool ended up playing 10 games for the Bears, catching 18 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. Not only was he utterly ineffective on the field, but it didn’t take long for him to become a locker room issue as well. He stated publicly that he felt the coaches weren’t utilizing him properly. In normal circumstances, a GM would try to weather the storm in hopes of the player settling down and finding his footing. After all, they gave up such a valuable pick for him. However, Poles didn’t do that. After deactivating Claypool on October 1st last year, he was traded to Miami for a 6th round pick in 2025. According to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic, much of the credit for that decision goes to an unexpected name.

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

That happened with Claypool, another situation in which Poles had to take one on the chin for a trade that didn’t work out. To get to that point, to stay within himself, he leaned on advice from his college teammate Matt Ryan.

As Poles began his career in the personnel department, he asked the then-Atlanta Falcons quarterback a roster question, and in his answer, Ryan offered this wisdom, “The locker room always knows.”

“If it then becomes about the GM’s ego of, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be embarrassed by letting this guy go or I don’t want to own that,’” he said, “but when you keep someone when maybe it hasn’t worked out, you’re getting rid of someone that maybe should have had a true opportunity, and you’re not fooling anybody with that.

Matt Ryan likely knew guys like Chase Claypool.

Talent is important to NFL success, but so is work ethic and team chemistry. There will always be guys out there who are so gifted that they don’t think they need to worry about anything else. Their natural ability will carry them through just as it did in high school and college. Claypool is a perfect example of that. His ability made him an immediate impact player as a rookie in 2020. Then, NFL defensive backs started getting a measure of what he liked doing and found ways to counter it. When that happened, his effectiveness began dwindling.

Throw in the fact Chase Claypool had a reputation for being selfish and resistant to coaching and it made the situation untenable for the Bears. Rather than saving his ego by hoping things got better, Poles absorbed the media blows and did what was right for his football team. The storm eventually passed, and he regained his footing when he stole D.J. Moore from Carolina during the next off-season. It is fitting a quarterback gave him the necessary mentality for such decisions. After all, moving on from big mistakes is pivotal for success at that position, too.

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BearDownTX
Apr 2, 2024 9:39 am

Slow news day

Gator Joe
Apr 2, 2024 7:19 am

Sometimes you just have to overrule the consensus and do what is best for the team. When they start winning consistently they will get over JF1 in a hurry.

DrJB
DrJB
Apr 2, 2024 6:12 am

Yeah, Poles seemingly forgot the message when he gave up on Fields despite the locker room wanting Fields to stay. That would a going to be one of Poles’ mistakes if Fields beats out Wilson and helps the Steelers make the playoffs next year and/or if the Bears don’t make the playoffs.

jmscooby
Apr 1, 2024 4:59 pm

This is why I personally have to give Morgan a pass through this year. He was Ryan’s assistant OL coach during his MVP year, IIRC. Our interior OL was in turmoil to start the season, but there were times during the season where the OL looked solid. We should have upgrades because our OL needs to set the tone.

Sam
Sam
Apr 1, 2024 12:12 pm

I bet at some point we hear about Poles also getting some feedback from Matt Ryan about CW, and possibly the rest of the QB class this year. I’m sure they have spoken about it.

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