The Chase Claypool-Chicago Bears marriage is finally over. Claypool, whom the Bears acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the NFL’s 2022 trade deadline, is now a member of the Miami Dolphins after Chicago agreed to trade the much-maligned receiver on Friday.
NFL Network was the first to report the news of the Claypool trade. The Dolphins will acquire Claypool and a 2025 seventh-round pick from the Bears in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round selection, per The Athletic.
Why did the Bears get rid of Claypool less than a year after acquiring him, and how will he fit in the Dolphins’ already explosive passing attack?
Bears Trade Chase Claypool to Dolphins
Intending to add weapons for quarterback Justin Fields but believing he might be unable to find suitable options on the 2023 free agent market, Bears general manager Ryan Poles shipped a second-round pick to the Steelers in exchange for Claypool on Nov. 1, 2022.
At the time, the trade had at least some merit. Claypool’s NFL career started with a nine-touchdown campaign in 2021, and he topped 55 receptions and 850 receiving yards in each of his first two pro seasons.
🚨 🚨 🚨
The #Bears are trading WR Chase Claypool to the #Dolphins, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. This ends a prolonged drama and gives Claypool a fresh start. They have tried to trade him since last week after he was a healthy scratch. Now, everyone moves on. pic.twitter.com/RKJHrllA1T
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2023
But Claypool struggled upon arriving in Chicago, posting just 14 receptions for 140 scoreless yards over eight games. And the Bears, who lost 10 consecutive games to end the 2022 season, ended up sending the 32nd overall pick — the first selection of Round 2 — to the Steelers for Claypool.
This year has been even more of a struggle for Claypool, who appeared to show minimal effort as a blocker early in the season.
— Mike Renner (@mikerenner_) September 11, 2023
Claypool appeared in Chicago’s first three games, managing only four receptions and one touchdown on 14 targets. But the Bears’ coaching staff clearly soured on the 23-year-old and asked him to stay home for the club’s Week 4 and 5 contests.
Now, Chicago has parted ways with Claypool and received essentially nothing in return. Good on Poles and the Bears for avoiding the sunk-cost fallacy, but turning a 2023 second-round pick into a 2025 sixth-rounder is nothing to be proud of.
Why Did the Dolphins Trade For Claypool?
The Dolphins put up 70 points in Week 3. Their passing offense leads the NFL in almost every conceivable category. Tyreek Hill should be on MVP watchlists, and Jaylen Waddle just returned from a one-game concussion absence.
Why did Miami add another wide receiver?
For one, the Dolphins still needed more depth behind Hill and Waddle. Braxton Berrios is the only other Miami wideout who has received more than 10 targets this season. Running backs Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane and tight end Durham Smythe are also involved in the Dolphins’ passing attack, but adding another option makes sense.
Claypool fits Miami’s preference for elite athletes. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the 2021 combine and has a 100th-percentile speed score.
But Claypool also offers something that the rest of the Dolphins’ receivers do not: size.
Hill and Waddle are 5-foot-10. Berrios is 5-foot-9. All three weigh 190 pounds or less.
Claypool stands at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds. Theoretically, he could be a red-zone weapon and a contested-catch threat while giving Miami’s offense a slightly different dimension.
Claypool probably needs to do some self-reflection upon his trade to the Dolphins and recommit to playing football at an NFL-caliber level. But if he’s re-energized by being sent to a contender, Miami may have picked up a contributor for (basically) free.
Fantasy Fallout From the Claypool Trade
Claypool had shown flashes of his potential in Pittsburgh from a fantasy standpoint, but it’s quickly gone downhill since that point. The Bears traded the No. 32 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft for just 10 games of Claypool before shipping him off to Miami for a significant loss of draft capital.
Now, Claypool joins one of the best offenses in the league, which might give some fantasy managers hope that he can rebound. But there’s very little reason to go after Claypool on the waiver wire now.
It’ll take him several weeks to learn the offense in Miami, and even if he picks it up quickly, several other WRs are above him on the depth chart. From a fantasy standpoint, this move does very little for either team, and Claypool should remain on your league’s waiver wire.
— PFN Fantasy Director Kyle Yates