The Chicago Bears shut down Chase Claypool, making him a "healthy scratch" for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos. And they appear fully intent on at least trying to trade the veteran wide receiver who never quite found his footing in the Windy City.
Through Chicago's woeful first three games of the season, the moribund wide receiver has seen his effort publicly questioned by the organization as the former first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers has gone without a reception to begin the 2023 campaign.
Making matters more contentious between the team and player, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus told reporters Monday that Claypool will not be in the building as Chicago prepares for Thursday's game against the Washington Commanders. For a team trying to make a trade, the Bears aren't exactly attempting to prop up the 25-year-old's trade value.
Claypool never quite carved out any meaningful role in Chicago, catching just 18 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown in 10 games since being acquired in a trade deadline deal last fall.
The question now becomes whether the Bears will be able to find a suitor. Is there any market at all for a player whose arrival was heralded as potentially being a missing piece for the offense but instead cannot find his way onto the field?
"No one is going to pay a high price for Chase Claypool," an NFC East scout told FanBuzz. "I don't know which teams would even really need him. But, if you look at teams like Philadelphia or Kansas City, maybe even Detroit ... Teams making championship runs could view him as a quality backup or depth piece."
Here's a look at how Claypool might fit into the three situations suggested by the scout:
Sunday afternoon showcased Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts' connection with A.J. Brown — and the impact Philadelphia's dynamic duo has had not only on the offense but also in the most important moments of tight games.
Brown pulled down nine receptions for 175 yards with a pair of second-half touchdowns, including a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.
However, even as Brown has paced the Eagles' passing game by catching a team-high 43 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns — and DeVonta Smith continues to make an impact with 29 receptions for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns — the Eagles don't have another wide receiver who has accounted for more than 70 receiving yards on the season.
The Eagles have a strong locker room and a well-established competitive culture that could light a fire under Claypool, along with the need for a third receiving option to emerge out of the wide receiver room. It's probably unlikely that the Eagles trade anything of consequence, but general manager Howie Roseman and Bears GM Ryan Poles did strike a deal last fall for linebacker Roquan Smith; so perhaps for the right price, this could be Claypool's best fit.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs suddenly look like the Chiefs again.
In the three weeks that have passed since a dreadful opener that was plagued by drops from Kadarius Toney and others, the Chiefs' young receivers are starting to show signs of real growth.
Travis Kelce knows all too well about carrying the Chiefs' passing game, but it's Justin Watson who leads Kansas City with 163 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Rashee Rice has pulled down 19 receptions for 140 yards with one touchdown, and Skyy Moore has accounted for 112 yards and a score. Put simply, the Chiefs are still in the process of figuring out Mahomes' target hierarchy.
However, if there is one general manager and organization that have seemingly prided themselves on flipping mid-to-late-round draft picks to acquire a player with a first-round pedigree to try to get the most out of their potential, it's Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs.
After a decisive victory on Thursday night over the Green Bay Packers, the Lions look like the team to beat in the NFC North.
Coach Dan Campbell's team is winning — and is 3-1 atop the division — by playing its own brand of bully-ball on the backs of a swarming and ferocious defense and a running game that controls the tempo while pounding its opponents into submission. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta has ignited the passing game, and Detroit will get former first-round pick Jameson Williams back on Sunday against Carolina.
Still, the Lions have done a nice job of collecting young players with upside around quarterback Jared Goff. And for the right price, they might be able to take a flier on Claypool, adding a new wrinkle to coordinator Ben Johnson's scheme. Claypool on the perimeter opposite Williams could theoretically create more space for LaPorta to operate down the seam, and potentially even lead to him emerging as a deep threat.
For the right price — potentially as little as a seventh-round pick — Claypool is worth kicking the tires on for a team on the rise and looking for depth, such as the Lions.
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