Justin Fields: Chase Claypool has 'improved tremendously' in his first offseason with Bears


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) While DJ Moore was the most important addition to the Bears' receiving corps this offseason, Chase Claypool's performance will be another critical subplot at the position.

A productive, confident Claypool would represent a piece the Bears were missing late last season. Acquired by the Bears from the Steelers just prior to the trade deadline on Nov. 1, Claypool had just 14 receptions for 140 yards over seven games with Chicago last season.

Claypool struggled to find comfort in the Bears’ scheme and never seemed to earn Fields' faith on the field. Claypool was admittedly frustrated at his lack of production as the losses mounted for the Bears in a 3-14 season.

After the Bears completed their second practice of OTAs on Tuesday, Fields went out of his way to point out the differences that he sees in Claypool now.

"Chase has improved tremendously, just from the end of last year to now,” Fields said. “That's one thing I'm truly proud to say. Just seeing his work ethic, his attitude change, you can just see he's taken another step."

The Bears dealt their second-round pick to the Steelers in exchange for the 24-year-old Claypool. That selection became the No. 32 overall slot in the draft.

Claypool posted 153 receptions for 2,044 yards and 12 touchdowns over 39 games with the Steelers. His most productive campaign came when he was a rookie in 2020, when he hauled in 62 catches for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. But Claypool fell out of favor in Pittsburgh and became available in a trade even as the Steelers fought to contend last season.

Claypool is entering a contract year in 2023, and the Bears could be waiting to see how he performs this upcoming season rather than working to strike a deal this offseason. Despite his lack of production, the Bears have continued to carry an optimistic outlook. In comments in January, general manager Ryan Poles traced Claypool's struggles largely to the inconsistency around him and his lack of time alongside Fields as they look to develop their chemistry.

"I’m not blinking at that one at all," Poles said. "I think he’s going to help us moving forward. I'm excited about it."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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