Just how bad was the Chicago Bears trade for Chase Claypool?
We need to set the stage here because I think too many Chicago Bears fans forget exactly how last season was going when Ryan Poles made the trade for Chase Claypool. The team was 3-5 on the year and it felt like they could have easily been 5-3 instead. The Bears lost a very close game to Washington that honestly should have been a win. They were also in a close matchup vs. the Vikings that ended in a 29-22 loss but was 19-21 at the end of the third.
Justin Fields was throwing to Darnell Mooney, but also had Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis as his other primary receivers. Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears staff clearly wanted to get a better look at Fields and give him more weapons to help him develop. The 2023 free-agent wide receiver class was not great and knowing that the team would have Claypool for about half of last season plus all of this season made sense based on the other receivers who were going to be available.
The trade itself did not work out. However, the process behind why Ryan Poles made the trade made sense. Chase Claypool was coming off back-to-back 850+-yard seasons. Fans need to understand that general managers are going to strike out at times. Poles swung and missed on this one. There is no denying that. Even if you are a big Poles supporter, you have to admit he got this one wrong — even if his process wasn't bad.
At the time of the trade, there was no way to know that the Chicago Bears would end with the top pick in the draft. This is how the Steelers ended up with the 32nd-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The hope at the time was that Chicago was sending the second-round pick they received from Baltimore in the Roquan Smith. That wasn't the case because in order to make the trade work, the Bears had to send their own pick. Why? Because the Packers were also offering a second-rounder for Claypool.
It turns out, the Chicago Bears should have been happy to lose to the Packers on this one. That didn't happen, and now Ryan Poles has to account for his mistake.