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Why the seller Bears became a buyer for Steelers WR Chase Claypool

Left is correct, down is up and the Chicago Bears at the moment are consumers at the commerce deadline. Hours earlier than the 4 p.m. ET cutoff, Chicago reportedly despatched a 2023 second-round choose to Pittsburgh for broad receiver Chase Claypool.

After the Bears traded their two defensive captains in Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn over the previous week, many thought Chicago was purely a seller, going all-in on a full rebuild and already looking forward to 2023. 

It made sense. The Bears had elevated their draft capital to 9 picks and are estimated to have greater than $120 million in cap house for 2023. That’s by far the most of any staff, almost doubling that of the New England Patriots for subsequent season. Next yr is extra prone to be Chicago’s yr than this one.

But apparently common supervisor Ryan Poles wished a head begin on constructing round quarterback Justin Fields. Despite Fields being introduced in by the earlier regime, it appears the present one is offered on him after regular enchancment in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s system to this point this season. Fields had the highest passer score of his profession on Sunday in Dallas, finishing 17 of 23 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and a 120.0 score.

All that is lacking from him taking the subsequent step is extra weapons.

The query was whether or not the Bears have been going to handle that want this yr. With the maintain Minnesota has on the division and Chicago nonetheless adjusting to its new regime, this was alleged to be a building-block yr. The roster was stripped right down to the studs, with the final two main items departing this previous week in Quinn and Smith. So why get Claypool now?

This previous offseason, the wide-receiver market exploded with Christian Kirk setting the precedent on an $84 million deal in Jacksonville. The offers solely went up from there, and can doubtless proceed to take action. Sure, the Bears could have the most cash to spend in free company this upcoming offseason however getting a man to jell along with your quarterback now on a team-friendly deal makes no less than a little sense. Claypool’s remaining contract this season is simply $673,000 whereas his 2023 base wage is ready to be round $1.5 million. It’s a low danger for a potential affect participant on Chicago’s offense.

The Bears additionally nonetheless have eight draft picks in 2023, together with a second-round choose they acquired from the Ravens for Quinn final week. They despatched their authentic second-rounder to Pittsburgh to doubtless sweeten the deal as Chicago ought to finally be selecting greater.

The Bears have the league’s worst passing offense, averaging simply 126.9 passing yards per recreation, whereas concurrently having the league’s prime dashing offense, averaging 188.4 yards on the floor every week. Against the Cowboys, Fields lastly discovered a groove via the air however was met with essential drops and missed assignments. Third-round choose Velus Jones Jr. dropped what may have been a landing in the second quarter.

Now, Claypool has the alternative to assist lead a group that additionally has Darnell Mooney, N’Keal Harry and Equanimeous St. Brown — and may get Byron Pringle off of injured reserve in the coming weeks.

The Bears play the Dolphins at house on Nov. 6. 

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can comply with Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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