A dumpster fire is currently going on for the Chicago Bears this season. Chicago isn’t just struggling in all phases; it’s more than that. So far, four games into the season, their defensive coordinator resigned, their starting quarterback has somehow regressed after showing signs of improvement in 2022, they haven’t won a game yet, and they have drama in the wide receiver room. The only positive for them is they current own the top two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The drama in the wide receiver room is the talking point here, involving Chase Claypool. Claypool was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Bears at the trade deadline last season for a 2023 second-round pick. The trade was supposed to help Bears quarterback Justin Fields out, but he finished with 14 catches for 140 yards last season. Despite adding DJ Moore from the Carolina Panthers in a trade, the hope was Claypool would grow into a top option for Fields.
It starts with the effort Claypool puts on the field. In Week 1, opening week to a brand new season where anything can happen, Claypool just appeared like he gave up. There were countless plays where Claypool was jogging, barely blocking his defender, and not caring what happened on the field.
The team addressed the lack of effort, and the issue didn’t seem to carry over the following two weeks. While Claypool has been trying more on the field, his comments off the field are another thing that people aren’t happy with. In the lead-up to their Week 4 matchup with the Denver Broncos, Claypool was asked if he’s been put in the best position for him as a receiver to showcase the best of what he can do. Claypool paused and replied with “No.“
Here is the exchange with Chase Claypool on his belief he's not being utilized to showcase his strengths beginning with the 2 questions I asked. The assumption that quotes from players are cherrypicked is something I take offense to, so you can see it verbatim for yourself. pic.twitter.com/EdqTcTo9wT— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) September 29, 2023
After showing a lack of effort in Week 1, Claypool dares to blame the coaching staff for how he isn’t being used? If I saw a wide receiver giving that kind of effort to start the season, I wouldn’t play him, and the Bears did just that. The team listed Claypool as a healthy scratch before the game against the Broncos. Afterward, reporters asked Bears head coach Matt Eberflus why he was missing, and while Eberflus said Claypool chose not to attend the game, a Bears spokesperson eventually said the opposite was true.
Matt Eberflus says the #Bears did not tell Chase Claypool to stay home. He made the choice to stay home.— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) October 1, 2023
UPDATE: A #Bears spokesperson just clarified that the team asked WR Chase Claypool to stay home from the game today.
On Monday, Claypool is still at home as Eberflus said he wouldn’t be in the building this week as the team prepares to play the Washington Commanders in Week 5.
So we have a wide receiver who isn’t happy where he is, and instead of playing his best to try and be a good trade option for the Bears, he doesn’t care and gives up. Then, later on, he criticizes the coaches for not putting him in the best spot when they see the effort he has out there. He only has four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets this season, so his production hasn’t been there either.
The Lions don’t need to add a wide receiver who will bring drama to the team and be upset with coaches publicly instead of in private. We all see what is happening in Chicago right now, and Detroit shouldn’t want to do anything with that.
The only positive of trading for Claypool is the size and type of receiver he is. Detroit doesn’t have an X type of wide receiver, and Claypool fits that. His size could give Detroit a good option for jump balls and be a mismatch against smaller cornerbacks. He would be the third or fourth option on the team right now, and the depth at the position would strengthen.
While adding a big-body wide receiver to the Lions would be neat, it is an easy pass for me. Detroit even got back wide receiver Jameson Williams two weeks early after the NFL changed its gambling policy. Even if the Lions were still without Williams, my thoughts on trading for Claypool wouldn’t have changed.
He brings nothing but drama to a team, and while this team doesn’t want drama, it also doesn’t want people who aren’t trying their best. Effort is non-negotiable in Detroit.
If the Lions did trade for Claypool, you would risk players in the locker room getting rightfully upset he jumped them on the depth chart with what he has done compared to them this season.
The coaching staff has set the culture in Detroit, and Claypool simply doesn’t fit it. Detroit reportedly didn’t even respond to Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins when he was a free agent looking for a new team with rumors floating around about his practice effort. If the Lions don’t want one of the best receivers in the NFL on their team, they certainly won’t want to trade for one who isn’t even close to the same skill level.