Nobody expected the Chicago Bears to be so active at the trade deadline. They especially didn’t expect new GM Ryan Poles to be a buyer. Sending Robert Quinn to Philadelphia and Roquan Smith to Baltimore weren’t huge surprises. Both didn’t appear primed to last in Chicago beyond 2022. Shipping them out for draft picks made logical sense. This team is rebuilding. So when Poles swung a deal with Pittsburgh for wide receiver Chase Claypool, it was met with shock.
Rebuilding teams don’t deal away high draft choices for veteran players. So why make this move? Poles’ explained himself at a press conference following the trade deadline. He is happy with Justin Fields’ progress at quarterback in recent weeks. The young GM felt the offense needed another playmaker to give him some help. Claypool has size and speed and is good after the catch. However, there was another reason.
It sounds like Poles isn’t overly impressed with the upcoming crop of receiving talent next off-season, both in free agency and the draft.
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This thought process is shared by many around the league. ESPN draft insider Matt Miller expressed minimal enthusiasm for the incoming draft class. Combine that with zero high-end options in free agency, and the Claypool move makes way more sense.
It also doesn’t look to be a great wide receiver class in the draft right now—some what due to injuries—so Bears may have felt value in Round 2 won’t be good at WR https://t.co/fHlEaFjtWL
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 1, 2022
2023 WR Free Agents
This is not a deep pool. No bonafide WR1 for the #Titans.
A couple names that stick out as a potential WR2/3 to pair with Treylon and Woods/A Rookie:
Noah Brown pic.twitter.com/YZiOUIIonS
— ⚔️Van MERC⚔️ (Evan) (@ItsEurb) October 31, 2022
Ryan Poles can now focus on his specialty.
That is the trenches. The Bears need loads of work on the offensive and defensive lines. With Claypool in the fold, he can devote that $100 million in cap space and likely top 10 draft pick towards solidifying the two fronts. Both have been significant weaknesses this year. Extensive retooling is required. Fans may not have accepted that unless the GM made some kind of aggressive move to get Fields a weapon.
Knowing all these details, it’s easier to understand what Ryan Poles is thinking. Yes, Claypool might not be the alpha superstar everybody wants. Even so, he’s a talented football player. He has produced at a high level in this league and is still only 24 years old. There is plenty of room to grow. Fields is an excellent fit for his style of play. If the Bears can get the QB some protection, that connection could work wonders.