Chase Claypool

Bills Sign WR Chase Claypool, DE Dawuane Smoot

The Bills continue to be active in the post-draft free agent market. Buffalo announced on Friday that the previously-reported agreement with linebacker Deion Jones has become official. The team has also added wideout Chase Claypool as well as defensive end Dawuane Smoot, though. All three players are attached to one-year deals.

Claypool showcased considerable potential during his first two seasons in the league. Operating as a key member of the Steelers’ offense, the former second-rounder posted 1,845 combined yards and 13 total touchdowns between the 2020 and ’21 campaigns. Things have not gone according to plan since, however, with a trade to the Bears in 2022 not producing the desired impact.

Claypool made just 18 catches in 10 games with Chicago, and he was on the move once again this year when he was traded to the Dolphins. The 25-year-old Canadian’s Miami stint produced only four receptions in nine games, and the team is in the market for a WR3 upgrade. Claypool visited the Seahawks in April, but to little surprise that did not yield a pre-draft agreement. Buffalo will bring him in ahead of offseason practices and training camp and in doing so provide him the opportunity to carve out a roster spot.

The Bills’ receiver room looks much different with Gabe Davis having departed in free agency prior to the trade which sent Stefon Diggs to the Texans. Buffalo traded down to the No. 33 spot in the draft and used that pick on Keon Coleman, and the team followed up that move by signing Quintez Cephus. Claypool will compete with the latter for a depth spot in the receiver pecking order this summer.

Smoot is likewise headed to Buffalo not long after meeting with another team. The 29-year-old recently visited the Texans, but he will instead look to earn a roster spot with the Bills. Smoot delivered a strong outing in 2021 (10 starts, six sacks), but an Achilles tear suffered the following year hurt his market value. Playing out a one-year deal last season, he posted just one sack while logging a rotational defensive role.

Buffalo has Von Miller on the books through 2027, and the team has retained both A.J. Epenesa and Greg Rousseau recently. The former re-signed on a two-year deal before the latter had his 2025 fifth-year option picked up. Smoot will look to earn a complementary place behind those three returnees in Buffalo this season, his first spent outside of Jacksonville.

The Bills entered Friday with only $2.8MM in cap space, much of which will be needed to sign their rookie class. While none of the Jones, Claypool or Smoot deals will be particularly lucrative, they will nevertheless use up much of the team’s remaining financial resources available until the post-June 1 release of Tre’Davious White frees up more spending power.

WR Chase Claypool Visits Seahawks

The Seahawks have a clear-cut top three at wide receiver, adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba to join the long-running Tyler LockettD.K. Metcalf pair last year. They also recently picked up Laviska Shenault. Another big-bodied wideout is on the team’s radar.

Chase Claypool trekked to Seattle for a free agency visit, according to Cardinals Wire’s Howard Balzer. This marks the first Claypool connection to a team in 2024. The former Steelers second-rounder is coming off an unremarkable Dolphins stay.

Traded in consecutive seasons, Claypool managed just eight receptions last year. Despite suiting up for nine Dolphins games following the early-season trade, Claypool caught only four passes as a Dolphin. The 238-pound receiver has seen his stock crater after the Steelers dealt him to the Bears at the 2022 deadline.

Not too long ago, Claypool had made his way into Pittsburgh’s starting lineup and looked like another promising Steelers WR draftee. As a rookie, the Notre Dame product totaled 62 catches for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. He was not far off those marks in 2021, accumulating 860 yards and two scores on nine receptions. The Steelers received two second-round offers at the ’22 deadline, opting to go with the Bears’ proposal over the Packers’ due to predicted pick value. That in-season NFC North assessment proved correct, with the 2023 No. 32 pick (Joey Porter Jr.) coming the AFC North team’s way for Claypool, who has trudged through two poor seasons since a strong start.

Claypool became quite unpopular with the Bears, disappointing in his first season and becoming a distraction in Year 2. This prompted Chicago to cut its losses and ship the 6-foot-4 target to Miami in a pick-swap deal involving Day 3 2025 choices. Claypool did not move the needle as an auxiliary Dolphins option, and Miami is looking for an upgrade behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Seattle has Lockett and Metcalf signed beyond 2024, though each was obviously acquired before OC Ryan Grubb arrived. The team, which has Smith-Njigba signed through 2026, also still rosters 2021 second-rounder Dee Eskridge. UDFA Jake Bobo, however, overtook the MAC product as Seattle’s WR4 last season. Shenault may have something to say about that in 2024, though the ex-Panthers and Jaguars target was acquired primarily to return kicks.

Latest On Chase Claypool’s Trade To Miami

New Dolphins wide receiver Chase Claypool has now been traded twice under his rookie contract with both of the teams trading him away doing so with criticisms that have nothing to do with his talent. The former second-round pick out of Notre Dame will have a chance to start anew in Miami, but the most recent developments in his career lead to a few points of interest.

Firstly, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reflected on reports that came out about Claypool shortly after his initial trade from Pittsburgh to Chicago. The team had just used a second-round pick to add former Georgia wide out George Pickens. Additionally, the Steelers had just rewarded Diontae Johnson with a two-year, $36.71MM contract extension. The team was staking its claim on the pieces of the receiving corps it wanted to move forward with in the future, and all the while, Claypool was struggling to find where he fit in.

After a rookie season that saw him record 873 receiving yards for an outstanding nine touchdown receptions (and two more on the ground) and a sophomore outing where he nearly matched his receiving yards total while only catching two scores, Claypool struggled through much of the first few weeks of the 2022 season as Johnson and Pickens dominated the target share in the position room.

As he struggled, it was reported that there were internal issues concerning Claypool in Pittsburgh. He had reportedly become a “distraction” behind the scenes, and his trade was the result of weeks of effort trying to unload the problematic receiver. Those same vibes seem to be apparent in his departure from Chicago, where concerns about his effort on the field led to him being a healthy scratch from games as the Bears worked to offload him.

Many of the sources reporting these internal issues seem to hold the opinion that, at only 25 years old, Claypool has all the time in the world to turn his career around. He clearly has the talent that he displayed in his rookie year and should still be able to access it. Even better, he’s now landed in what could be a perfect opportunity to turn things around.

In Miami, Claypool becomes a low-risk, high-reward prospect for a team that can afford to swing and miss. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel even told the media that the team “wasn’t looking for another wide receiver, but this was a good chance to pounce on (an) opportunity that presented itself,” according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

To support McDaniel’s claim, Miami leads the league in total offense by a wide margin, thanks in large part to their league-leading 1,337 passing yards to date, which is even more than the two teams who have already played five games this season. Last year, the team’s top two wideouts, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, combined for 3,066 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns. This year, they added All-Pro return specialist and slot receiver Braxton Berrios, as well. Clearly, the team is well-stocked at the wide receiver position.

So, why not take a shot on Claypool for such a low asking price? Claypool, at 6-foot-4, adds a body type not present in the corps’ top three listed above, as none of Hill, Waddle, or Berrios even reach 5-foot-11. Claypool also doesn’t lack for top-end speed, an aspect of the game that the Dolphins clearly covet. The door is wide open for Claypool to walk through. He’s once again with a contending franchise and should be fighting for his life for his next NFL contract. Miami could be the perfect place to get it done.

This does seem to bring up some questions about the other big receiver in the corps, Cedrick Wilson. Miami signed him to a three-year, $22.8M contract last season before he got outplayed by Trent Sherfield for the WR3 spot. It was even reported in the offseason that the team was willing to trade Wilson. He’s continued to struggle to find the field this year, as well. With a potentially more capable big body in Claypool coming in, the Dolphins might view Wilson as even more expendable and look to find a trade partner who might reimburse their lost sixth-round pick.

Regardless, Claypool heads to South Beach with the opportunity to revive his flailing NFL career. He’ll have to work hard to find snaps behind Hill, Waddle, and Berrios, but his big frame provides him with the chance to earn some situational snaps and eventually expand his role. Miami may be his last chance to get himself together and stay in the NFL.

Bears Trade WR Chase Claypool To Dolphins

The Chase Claypool situation has come to a resolution. The Bears are trading the contract-year wideout to the Dolphins, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports Chicago will send Claypool and a 2025 seventh-round pick to Miami for a sixth-rounder in the same year. The deal is now official.

Claypool was a healthy scratch in Week 4, having been told to remain away from the team while a trade could be sought out. That approach continued through last night’s game against the Commanders, which saw the Bears snap their 14-game losing streak. Having repeatedly sat the former second-rounder, it was clear the Bears would move on in some fashion, though many around the league expected Claypool to be waived. Instead, he will now head to South Beach with the Bears clearing the remaining $2.2MM he is due this year from their books.

Chicago sent a 2023 second-rounder to Pittsburgh less than one year ago in the hopes of boosting their passing attack and giving Claypool a fresh start. The 25-year-old Canadian had underwhelmed in his third Steelers campaign after posting 1,733 yards and 11 touchdowns over his first two. Things did not go according to plan in the Windy City, however, with Claypool amassing a statline of 18-191-1 in 10 games with the Bears. The pick sent to Pittsburgh (No. 32 overall) was ultimately used on corner Joey Porter Jr.

Miami already boasts a hugely effective WR tandem in the form of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but the team has been in search of depth. Both Erik Ezukanma and River Cracraft recently suffered injuries which will sideline them for an extended stretch, so Claypool will join Robbie Chosen as players the Dolphins will take a flier on in the hopes of providing career stability. The latter signed to Miami’s active roster last week to help fill the vacancy created by Ezukanma and Cracraft’s absence.

CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes that one other team expressed interest in trading for Claypool, who is set to hit free agency in March. The Bears used this past weekend to decide on a final course of action with the Notre Dame alum, which has produced an underwhelming trade return to no surprise. Claypool’s value has suffered given his lack of production, issues related to attitude and effort and his status as a rental for the remainder of the campaign. It will be interesting to see what role he is able to carve out for himself in Miami.

The Claypool gamble has proven to be a disappointment, something Bears general manager Ryan Poles admitted when speaking publicly about the situation. Confirming that a separation was imminent, he took to ESPN 1000’s pregame radio show last night to express regret for the way things played out.

“You’re always disappointed in this situation, and it’s definitely something I take ownership of,” Poles said, via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin“The right thought process was there, and I feel comfortable with that. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and we were hoping for him to be a little bit more productive and be someone that could help us take it to the next level… I think Chase is going to learn from this situation, we all will, and I wish him luck moving forward throughout his career.”

Bears Expected To Waive WR Chase Claypool?

The Chase Claypool situation seems destined to end with a move out of Chicago. The Bears may not be able to find a trade partner for the disgruntled wideout, however, and he may wind up on the waiver wire as a result.

Since asking Claypool to remain away from the team in Week 4, the Bears have been seeking a deal which will send him elsewhere. No takers have emerged yet, and the 25-year-old will not take part in Chicago’s contest against Washington tomorrow. That decision is expected by personnel around the league to soon be followed by Claypool being waived, as noted by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

With less than four years of accrued time in the league, the former second-rounder would not be able to immediately hit free agency as is the case with vested veterans. Fowler adds that the Bears may still be able to land a late-round pick in a swap for Claypool, whose value is obviously at a low point. The 25-year-old publicly criticized Chicago’s offense prior to being made a healthy scratch this past Sunday, and his tenure in the Windy City has not gone according to plan. Claypool has averaged less than two catches and just over 19 yards per game across 10 contests in Chicago.

The Steelers dealt the Notre Dame alum to the the Bears last season as part of the latter team’s trade deadline efforts to add to their passing attack. That goal has since included the D.J. Moore acquisition as part of the deal involving the first overall pick in the 2023 draft, but the Bears have still struggled to produce through the air this season (215 passing yards per game). Parting ways with Claypool will likely not make a noticeable impact on that average.

The latter is set to hit free agency in March, so the following weeks and months will go a long way in determining his value on the open market. Claypool’s underwhelming Steelers exit, which seems destined to be followed by a similar one with the Bears, will no doubt give many teams pause when considering a waiver claim if his situation reaches that point. If he were to go unclaimed, Claypool would be free to sign with any team for the rest of the campaign.

Chase Claypool Will Not Be With Bears For Week 5

The Chase Claypool situation in Chicago has moved to a point the team will prepare for its Week 5 game without him. The disgruntled wide receiver will not be in the building ahead of the Bears’ preparations for their Commanders tilt, Matt Eberflus said Monday.

Eberflus’ update (courtesy of ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan) provides a different stance compared to Sunday, when the second-year head coach said the 2022 trade acquisition is expected to remain with the team going forward. Several hours later, it looks like a separation is imminent.

These standoffs do not necessarily mean the end of the line, however. Last year, both Brandin Cooks and Cam Akers went from being at odds with the Texans and Rams, respectively, to finishing out the seasons back as starters for their teams. (Though, both were dealt this year.) Claypool, however, does not have the same type of role with the Bears. The ex-Steelers second-rounder has underwhelmed since being dealt to the Bears at the 2022 deadline. The Bears made him a healthy scratch for their Week 4 game against the Broncos, and a Sunday-morning report pointed to a trade attempt taking place.

While the Bears were believed to be asking for a fifth- or sixth-round pick for the bulky wideout, this particular asset’s value has tanked since he was last on the trade block. In 10 Bears games, Claypool has caught just 18 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. He has four grabs for 51 yards this season.

Bears coaches criticized Claypool for his effort in Week 1, and GM Ryan Poles issued an ultimatum of sorts after that showing. Claypool then caught three passes for 36 yards in Week 2 but was not a factor in the Bears’ Week 3 loss in Kansas City. In the same vein, Claypool responded in the affirmative when asked if the coaching staff was putting him in the best position to succeed. While this is not a good look, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns added that Claypool’s benching did not solely stem from his comments about the staff, pointing to Eberflus mentioning meetings, practices and walkthroughs after the game.

The Bears surrendered the No. 32 overall pick for Claypool last year. The Packers also sent the Steelers a second-round offer, as they attempted to make an 11th-hour upgrade on their pass-catching corps to help their final Aaron Rodgers-led offense. Pittsburgh preferred Chicago’s pick, believing it would come in higher. That bet proved prescient; the Bears have not won a game since acquiring Claypool. Sunday’s 21-point collapse marked Chicago’s 14th straight loss.

The former Notre Dame standout is tied to a $2.99MM base salary this season. It should not be considered out of a question other teams still value Claypool, but this Bears regime will not recoup anything close to the same level of draft asset it parted with to bring in the 6-foot-4 target nearly a year ago.

Bears Make WR Chase Claypool A Healthy Scratch In Week 4, Actively Trying To Trade Him

6:00pm: There are conflicting reports coming out of Chicago this afternoon following the team’s crushing loss to the previously 0-3 Broncos. According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, head coach Matt Eberflus told the media that the decision for Claypool not to attend “today’s game after being made inactive was the wide receiver’s choice,” insinuating that the Bears didn’t instruct the beleaguered player to stay away.

Another source, Adam Jahns of The Athletic, provided an updated report later in the afternoon that a team spokesperson clarified the opposite claim, explaining that the Bears did, in fact, ask Claypool to stay home, away from the game, today.

There is clearly an extreme amount of tension building between the two parties, creating a schism that is starting to seem impossible to span. Eberflus claimed that he anticipates seeing Claypool back in the building tomorrow, but it’s unclear if the two sides will be able to come to a working agreement.

11:45am: Poles is actively trying to trade Claypool, as NFL insider Jordan Schultz reports. Poles is calling teams he believes may be in the market for a receiver and is looking for a fifth- or sixth-round pick in return.

11:06am: The Bears have made wide receiver Chase Claypool a healthy scratch for their Week 4 game against the Broncos (Ian Rapoport of first reported the team’s plan to make Claypool inactive). Fellow wideout Equanimeous St. Brown, on the heels of a strong week of practice, will be active for the first time in 2023.

This represents another low in a disappointing Chicago tenure for Claypool. The former second-round pick of the Steelers, who was a focal point of Pittsburgh’s offense over the 2020-21 campaigns, was shipped to the Bears in advance of last year’s trade deadline in exchange for what turned out to be the No. 32 overall pick of the 2023 draft (which the Steelers used to selected Joey Porter Jr.).

Bears GM Ryan Poles added Claypool in an effort to surround quarterback Justin Fields with more receiving talent, an effort that continued with this offseason’s acquisition of D.J. Moore. However, in the 10 games that Claypool has played for Chicago, he has amassed just 18 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown.

As Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times details, Claypool was criticized by his coaches and teammates for not showing enough effort in the Bears’ 2023 regular season opener against the Packers. Prior to the club’s Week 2 game versus the Bucs, Poles said that he expected Claypool to make changes.

“And if he doesn’t,” Poles said, “then we’ll have to figure out what we’re going to do after that.”

While Claypool exhibited better effort in that matchup with Tampa Bay, catching three balls for 36 yards and a score, he caught just one pass for 15 yards in the Bears’ Week 3 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs despite playing in 86% of the team’s offensive snaps. To be fair, the Kansas City loss was nightmarish for the entire team, but Claypool has obviously fallen out of the good graces of his coaching staff.

Claypool is likewise not too fond of the staff at the moment. When asked this past week if he believed he was being put in the best position to succeed, the Notre Dame product paused for seven seconds before saying, “no.”

“Obviously, there’s other places,” Claypool added. “You can say, ‘Oh, I want to be on the best offense with the highest passing yards,’ but that doesn’t happen in football. You just have to make do with what you’ve got.”

As Finley notes, it is unclear whether Claypool knew that he was being benched when he made those comments, or if the comments contributed to his benching. Either way, it is not a good look for a contract-year player to be scratched by a team that is desperate for offensive production. It is fair to wonder if the Bears will seek to move Claypool at this year’s deadline, though they will obviously not come close to recouping their own investment in him if they do put him on the block.

In related news, the Bears are elevating Tyson Bagent to the QB2 role behind Fields, according to Rapoport. Bagent, an undrafted free agent out of D-II Shepherd University, had an impressive summer and was rumored to be in the running for the backup job when the season got underway. While Chicago installed veteran Nathan Peterman as Fields’ clipboard holder for the first few weeks of the campaign, Bagent has done enough to merit a promotion.

Rapoport made it clear that the move does not impact Fields’ standing with the team.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/24/23

In a very busy day for the NFL in transactions, here are some of the minor moves that may have slipped through the cracks:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Ravens signed Ott after working out a trio of long snappers that also included Ryan Langan and Shane Griffin. The former Pro Bowler for the Seahawks won the tryout and is expected to be the replacement for Baltimore’s usual long snapper Nick Moore, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon during his offseason training, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Also, the breath of relief for Bateman is short-lived as, a day after being activated from the reserve/did not report list, Baltimore has placed the young receiver on the PUP list.

On a more positive note, a day after the Bears placed Claypool on the PUP list, he has been removed from it. He’ll now be eligible to participate in training camp starting this Wednesday. Tomlinson returns to Houston after being released back in May. He’ll get another chance to work in the tight ends room that includes Dalton Schultz, Teagan Quitoriano, and Brevin Jordan.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/23/23

Here are today’s minor moves heading into the week:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Ravens fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that Bateman is set to return for camp. Bateman missed most of the team’s spring activities after receiving a cortisone shot in hopes it would help him get back in time for camp. It was slightly concerning that he didn’t initially report with the rest of the team, but general manager Eric DeCosta had reassured the media that Bateman was expected back soon. Two days later and Bateman should be in attendance for camp to start this week.

Claypool has been dealing with a soft tissue injury from earlier in the offseason. He was expected back in time for camp but clearly will have to wait a bit to rejoin the team.

With the departure of Eli Apple in free agency, Awuzie is expected to take a step up in the Bengals’ defense this year. Cincinnati will hope to get him back and working with the first-team secondary again soon. The absences of Cochran and Collins leave the team a little thin on tackle depth, but the starters remain available as Jonah Williams avoids any injury designations.

Detroit will have Jameson Williams available for training camp but not for the start of the season. The Lions will be hoping to get the opposite result for Jones, who will be unavailable to start camp.

Packers Offered Steelers Second-Round Pick For WR Chase Claypool

The Packers ended up standing down at Tuesday afternoon’s deadline, but they are believed to have made a substantial offer to try and upgrade their receiving corps.

Green Bay offered Pittsburgh a second-round pick for Chase Claypool, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (on Twitter). The Packers saw their reputation for success work against them. The Steelers took the Bears’ offer of a second-round pick, per Silverstein, because they believe Chicago’s 2023 selection will be “considerably higher” come April. Both the Bears and Packers are 3-5, but one team is amid a rebuild and the other attempting to cling to contention status.

Not exactly a hotbed of deadline activity, the Packers were pursuing receiver upgrades for several days before Tuesday brought the Claypool news. But the team was believed to be in strong position for Claypool as of Tuesday morning, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. A Bears offer emerged Tuesday morning, and the Steelers ended up focusing on a deal with Chicago. Claypool’s through-2023 contract is now on the Bears’ payroll.

The 6-foot-4, 238-pound receiver was rumored to have been made available late this summer, and rumblings about his potential to be moved persisted until the deadline. Claypool, 24, has back-to-back 800-plus-yard seasons on his resume, passing James Washington for a regular Steelers role. Rather than help Kenny Pickett develop, the Notre Dame product will be used to assist Justin Fields in his progression.

Aaron Rodgers has lobbied for the Packers to add pass-catching help, with the team amid its worst stretch of the Matt LaFleur era. Green Bay has seen its receiving corps struggle when at full strength, and it finished its Buffalo matchup without Allen Lazard and Christian Watson. With Randall Cobb on IR, the Packers do not have much in the way of available talent at the position.

Calls for the Pack to improve their post-Davante Adams receiving corps have come since Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling departed in March. Adams said the Packers’ extension offer exceeded the Raiders’ terms, and Green Bay made a late push to keep MVS. The team then proceeded to use both its first-round picks on defensive talent, extending the streak of no first-round receiver picks to 20 years. Green Bay traded up to No. 34 for Watson, but injury issues have led to the North Dakota State product missing extensive time as a rookie.

The deadline does not close the book on receiver additions, but unless the Packers are prepared to wait on Odell Beckham Jr., they will need to climb out of this hole with the pass catchers they have. Green Bay pursued Beckham during his November 2021 free agency and was connected to Brandin Cooks this year. Cooks and the Texans may not be on good terms right now, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that partnership. For now, however, the Packers have come up empty at a key point on the NFL calendar.