Patriots Almost Traded For One of Bill Belichick’s Favorite WR: Report

Getty New England Patriots, Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots didn’t make a trade before the NFL’s deadline, but according to one report, they were close to landing wide receiver Chase Claypool.

The Chicago Bears ultimately acquired Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a second-round pick. NFL on NBC’s Mike Florio says he “has reason to believe” the Patriots “were in on this” up until Pittsburgh elected to ship the 24-year-old to the Windy City.

Here is a look at the segment with former QB Chris Simms:

Chase Claypool trade shows Bears are laying foundation for 2023 | Pro Football Talk | NFL on NBCMike Florio and Chris Simms analyze how Chase Claypool, a rare “physical freak” with maturity issues, will be key for Chicago next season and analyze why the Bears didn’t go with the Packers’ offer. #NBCSports #ProFootballTalk #ChaseClaypool » Subscribe to NFL on NBC: » Watch Pro Football Talk live on Peacock weekdays 7a-9a:…2022-11-02T16:52:19Z

Claypool had an amazing rookie season for the Steelers. After he fell short of 1,000 yards (873) receiving in his first year but hauled in 9 TDs, the sky seemed to be the limit for him.

In 2021, he didn’t find the endzone as often (2), but he still had 860 receiving yards on 59 receptions. In 2022, he hasn’t been on pace to put up comparable numbers. Through eight games with Pittsburgh, Claypool had 32 receptions for 311 yards and one TD.

He’s still just 24 years old, and the quarterback play in Pittsburgh has been poor most of his career, so there is hope he will rebound with Justin Fields and the Bears. Claypool is one of the players Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has gushed over recently.

In fact, Belichick even compared Claypool to Patriots great Rob Gronkowski because his size, athletic gifts, and the difficulty matching up with him.

The trade to the Patriots didn’t happen, but if it had, depending on what New England had to send to Pittsburgh to outbid the Bears, it might have made a major impact on the bottom line in 2022.

How Would Claypool Have Fit For the Patriots?

If Claypool were to become a member of the Patriots, you might have seen New England utilize him in the ways they’d hoped to use N’Keal Harry. Claypool and Harry are similar from a size standpoint, only the former is much quicker and thus more of a vertical threat.

Suppose New England also still had Devante Parker and Jakobi Meyers, rookie speedster Tyquan Thornton. Add to that foursome tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith and running back Rhamondre Stevenson. The Patriots would easily have the most impressive weapons in the passing game since Randy Moss and Wes Welker were helping Tom Brady break records more than a decade ago.

The combination of size, speed, route running, and blocking would be tough for defenses to match up with each week. Unfortunately for Patriots fans–and Mac Jones–the deal is just fodder for what-if scenarios.

What’s Next For the Patriots?

The Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Foxborough. The Colts look like a vulnerable team as they head into Gillette Stadium. They have benched their veteran signal-caller Matt Ryan and turned to a second-year quarterback in the team draft in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Indianapolis has also fired its offensive coordinator. To make matters even more challenging for the Colts, they will be without running back Jonathan Taylor, and they also traded away his backup, Nyheim Hines.

It seems like the Patriots are catching this team at the right time. Don’t expect New England to have any pity as they attempt to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season. If the Patriots can’t pull this one off, there will be some serious questions about their immediate future.

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