The Chicago Bears lost the Chase Claypool trade (for now)

Chicago Bears-Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears-Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Week 18 marked a historic day, where a Chicago Bears loss and a Houston Texans win awarded the Bears with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. This is the Bears’ first time having the number one overall pick since 1947, and while the offseason will be filled with fans and analysts alike predicting what selections and trades the team will make heading into the draft, there is a more significant concern that should be noted.

The Chicago Bears almost had two picks in the top 32 selections

Since the Miami Dolphins lost their first-round pick in 2023 due to tampering violations, there will be only 31 picks in the first round this year. The Bears would be slated to receive the 32nd-overall selection next season, which is essentially an additional first-round pick. Unfortunately, the team traded this selection to the Pittsburgh Steelers in return for wide receiver Chase Claypool.

It is hard to criticize the front office for taking a swing on a receiver amidst a season where Justin Fields broke out as the quarterback of the future — especially when his weapons were so limited prior to the trade deadline. Unfortunately, the trade seems to be going in the Steelers’ favor.

Claypool recorded 14 receptions for 140 yards and 0 touchdowns in seven games with the Bears. For a player that was acquired for essentially a first-round pick, you would hope that this would be about what he was doing every week or every couple of games. This stat line is especially worrisome when considering that the other high-profile wide receiver Darnell Mooney missed the last handful of games of the regular season.

Claypool is still an athletically gifted receiver who should continue to build chemistry and rapport with Fields over the off-season, but considering what the pick the Bears gave the Steelers turned into, he failed to live up to expectations in 2022.

Now with the first overall pick, and having the Baltimore Ravens’ second-round pick from the Roquan Smith trade, the Bears have the draft capital to likely trade back and still have a number of high-end picks in 2023 (and perhaps an extra first-rounder in 2024). The Bears will likely look to add at least one more receiver in the 2023 off-season, and there is a good chance Claypool isn’t even considered a top-2 receiver on the Bears next season, but nonetheless, this is already looking like the worst move so far for general manager Ryan Poles and the front office.