The Buffalo Bills may need to find some help at wide receiver, and one analyst suggests they swing a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers to find it.
The Bills have been hit hard by injuries through the first quarter of the season, losing a pair of wide receivers to long-term injuries and another whose immediate future is murky. With the Bills sporting an AFC-best 3-1 record and looking to stay in Super Bowl contention, the front office could consider a trade deadline deal to shore up the receiving corps.
Bills Could Look to Steelers
Though Sunday’s comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens helped the Bills move back into a tie for the AFC East lead, it came at a high cost to their wide receiver room. Veteran slot receiver Jamison Crowder suffered a broken ankle and was placed on injured reserve, while speedster Isaiah McKenzie was placed into concussion protocol after suffering a head injury.
The Bills were already missing receiver Jake Kumerow, who had played mostly on special teams but became a bigger part of the passing game this season. And deep threat Gabe Davis, while able to play on Sunday, has still been slowed by a lingering ankle injury and over the last two weeks made just four total catches for 50 yards.
While many have suggested that the Bills inquire about free agent Odell Beckham Jr., WGR 550 reporter Nate Geary had a different target in mind — Steelers receiver Chase Claypool.
“Lots of talk about Saquon Barkley or OBJ… I wonder what it would take to pry Chase Claypool from the Steelers after they drop to 1-4 next week,” Geary tweeted. “He’d cost less than $1M against the cap this season and just $2M (ish) next season. What would he reasonably cost?”
After stopping 850 yards in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, Claypool has seen a dropoff as the Steelers have struggled in the passing game this season. He has made just 11 catches for 79 yards through four games this season, seeing rookie George Pickens take on a bigger role in the offense.
Claypool Considered a Trade Target
Even before the Steelers stumbled to a 1-3 start, many insiders believed that Claypool could wind up on the trade block as Pittsburgh moved into rebuilding mode. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said back in August that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Claypool traded this season.
“Hey, I’m sure there’s plenty of teams out there that would be interested in Chase Claypool because I think if you get him in the right offense, he could really explode,” Florio said in an appearance on 93.7 The Fan. “And I don’t know how much Ben [Roethlisberger] liked him. I don’t know how much Ben trusted him. I was amazed when I saw his skill set as a rookie.”
While Claypool could become a target for the Bills as the trade deadline nears, the team may need to look to more immediate options to fill in for Crowder and potentially McKenzie. Veteran receiver and kick returner Tavon Austin could be elevated from the practice squad, and Isaiah Hodgins could as well.