LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – After watching second-year quarterback Justin Fields’ continued progress, Bears general manager Ryan Poles seized an opportunity Tuesday to surround him with better talent.
The Bears acquired receiver Chase Claypool from the Steelers in exchange for a second-round pick on Tuesday, an agreement that was reached several hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline. It was an aggressive move and reflected Poles’ confidence in Fields’ growth.
“I am excited about this player,” Poles said of Claypool at Halas Hall. “I’ve really liked the way that our offense is starting to come together and move. I thought it was important to add another impact player to our offense to go along with the guys that we currently have in the receiver room right now. I like the way Justin is trending, and I think adding another big body who’s physical, explosive, great leaping ability, can stretch the field but also is violent with the ball in his hand as well as a blocker, I think it enhances everyone around him.”
The 24-year-old Claypool has 32 receptions for 311 yards and a touchdown in eight games this season. A second-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2020, he has 153 career catches for 2,044 yards and 12 scores across three seasons.
Claypool is playing in the third season of his four-year rookie contract. Poles indicated the Bears could explore a contract extension.
“The contract definitely helps,” Poles said. “But just like everybody else, we’re kind of going to take this season, see how everything works out and we’re going to go from there.”
Claypool’s 32 receptions would lead the Bears this season, as receiver Darnell Mooney currently has a team-best 25 catches through eight games. The Bears are averaging an NFL-worst 126.9 passing yards per game.
Poles also acknowledged that part of the reason the Bears traded for Claypool is because the wide receiver class in the 2023 free-agent market is weak.
"You have to do a little bit of forecasting down the road,” Poles said. “And I just didn't feel comfortable with that."
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.