Just 10 months ago, many Green Bay Packers fans were angry that the team didn’t make a trade for a receiver at the deadline to help push the team into the playoffs. One of the most popular names linked to the Packers, at the time, was then Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Chase Claypool — who ended up getting traded to the Chicago Bears.
It was reported by CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson that the Packers offered a second-round pick for Claypool, but that the Bears matched that draft choice in the 11th hour to land the receiver. The Steelers reportedly chose the Bears’ offer over the Packers’ because they believed that Chicago would finish worse in the overall league standings. That turned out to be true, as the selection sent to Pittsburgh in exchange for Claypool wound up being the 32nd overall pick in April’s draft.
Now, the Bears seem to be having some buyer’s remorse on Claypool, as the Packers probably dodged a bullet. Kyle Brandt of the NFL Network had the following to say about the Bears’ offense this week:
There is a player on the Bears, and he’s just sleep walking out there. We all see it. He plays offense.
I’m not even gonna name him. If you’re watching, you know.
Mike Renner of The Messenger quote tweeted Brandt’s comment with a cutup of Claypool’s low-effort plays in Week 1 with the text “Pick 32,” the draft choice that the Steelers received for Claypool.
Since the season opener, everyone has given their opinion on Claypool’s poor performance. Dan Bernstein, a radio host in Chicago, said, “That was an absolute waste of a professional workday. There is no excuse, none at all,” for Claypool “half-assing routes.”
The receiver’s own head coach, Matt Eberflus said that he had to have a private meeting with Claypool this week to talk about his effort as a blocker. According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, Eberflus stated, “You all saw the plays that... and again, the perimeter blocking needed to improve for all of us. And we’re gonna get that, work hard to get that done.” When asked if the team might make Claypool a healthy scratch moving forward, Eberflus responded, “We’re looking at all possibilities right now.”
Yikes. Mind you, Claypool is in a contract year and has only suited up for eight games with the Bears — notching four starts, so far. To say the least, Chicago isn’t getting 32nd overall pick value out of the big body wideout. At this point, Claypool has averaged just 17.5 receiving yards per game in his Bears career.
His low-effort blocking shouldn’t be much of a surprise, though. While Claypool is 6’4” and 238 pounds, he’s always played much smaller than his size. Once he was traded to Chicago, Claypool claimed that the Steelers playing him in the slot — where he was used more as a blocker — was what held him back.
The Packers’ hope was probably to develop Claypool into something like an Allen Lazard, a big-body receiver who did the dirty work. He seems to have no interest in playing that role, as he apparently sees himself as more of a Calvin Johnson or Julio Jones type of receiver. I don’t ever remember them ever averaging 17.5 yards per game, though.