Chase Claypool Update Opens Door for Ex-Bears WR to Exit NFL

Chase Claypool Chicago Bears News Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL Update

Getty Former Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool.

Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool could still land a new job with an NFL team for the 2024 season, but one CFL team is already preparing for the possibility of him returning to his birth country to continue his career.

According to 3DownNation, a CFL-focused publication, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have officially added Claypool to their exclusive negotiation list. The roster move does not necessarily indicate that Claypool is heading to the CFL, but it does provide the Roughriders with the first opportunity to sign him if he does express interest later on.

Claypool remains an unrestricted free agent, but the 25-year-old native of Abbotsford, British Columbia, could generate interest in the coming weeks as NFL teams tweak their rosters in preparation for the 2024 NFL draft, which runs April 25 to April 27.

If not, Claypool might also have an opportunity to find a new NFL gig after the draft when teams look to fill their remaining roster holes with veterans still on the market. Teams will rush to sign undrafted rookies and fill up their rosters to the 90-man limit following the draft, but they can swap out those rookies or other roster-fringe players for an appealing veteran if one emerges before the start of training camp in July.

Is another NFL team interested in giving Claypool a shot to earn his keep, though?

Chase Claypool’s Run With Bears Ended in Disaster

The Bears had big plans for Claypool when they traded their 2023 second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for him at the 2022 NFL trade deadline, even after he made a minimal impact for their offense over his first half-season with the team.

With higher expectations coming into 2023, though, Claypool flopped badly for a Bears offense that planned to take a big step forward. Not only did he produce poorly on the field with several missed blocks and just four catches for 51 yards on 14 targets in the first three games, but he also essentially talked himself into a healthy-scratch situation when he criticized the coaching staff following Week 3’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Bears left him inactive for the next two games while they looked for a trade partner, then quickly shipped him and a 2025 sixth-round pick off to the Miami Dolphins for a 2025 sixth-round pick. He played just 22 offensive snaps for the rest of the year, stuck deep on the depth chart for the Dolphins on their run to the wild-card playoff round.

Could Bears Reunite With Any Former WRs in 2024?

The Bears are not going to bring back Claypool for the 2024 season, which should be obvious to anyone who experienced his miserable 10-month run in Chicago. But could they look to re-sign any of their other former receivers still available in free agency?

The Bears already moved to bring back one of their previous veterans, signing Dante Pettis — who missed the 2023 season with a preseason injury — to a one-year contract for the 2024 season. They are also certain not to return starter Darnell Mooney, who signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons in mid-March.

It is possible Equanimeous St. Brown could be in play. He played the past two seasons with the Bears, catching 26 passes for 385 yards and a touchdown, and touts a career average of 14.7 yards per reception despite limited usage. If Chicago wants experience who has familiarity with their roster, St. Brown could be an option.

Then again, St. Brown joined the Bears after they hired Luke Getsy — who worked with him in Green Bay — as their offensive coordinator in 2022. Now that Getsy is in Vegas, it is unclear if the Bears still believe he is a viable receiving option for their roster, especially after he caught just five passes for 62 yards last season.

The Bears might be content to wait on making more veteran receiver additions. They hold the No. 9 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft, which could allow them to target one of may also look to target a new receiver with their third- or fourth-round selections.

Don’t be surprised if there is no further action at receiver until after the draft.

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