The Pittsburgh Steelers are pulling off a major trade.
As reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport just prior to the trade deadline on Tuesday, November 1, the Steelers are trading wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a second-round draft pick. As Rapoport notes, Pittsburgh is receiving Chicago’s original second-round draft pick in the deal rather than the Baltimore Ravens’ draft pick.
The Bears acquired a second-round draft pick from the Ravens the day prior in the trade for linebacker Roquan Smith.
“The #Steelers are receiving the #Bears original second-round pick for Chase Claypool, source said. Not the pick the #Ravens pick,” said Rapoport.
A few hours after the trade was completed, Claypool took to Twitter to react to his trade to the Bears.
Claypool Was Not Expected to Be Traded at Deadline
Heading into the deadline, there were reports that Claypool was unlikely to be traded. In fact, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reported on Tuesday, October 25, that it would take a team “grossly” overpaying in order to acquire Claypool at the deadline.
“It makes little sense to me, unless some team is willing to grossly overpay,” said Kaboly. “It’s been put out there just to see if somebody is willing to pay top dollar for Claypool. He is under contract for the next 27 games at a reasonable price. If you feel like you want to move him, the offseason would be a place where it could bring much more of a return.”
In fact, Kaboly wrote that he expected Claypool to remain in Pittsburgh until becoming a free agent after the 2023 season.
“At worst, he leaves via free agency after the 2023 season and becomes a part of the compensatory pick process,” says Kaboly. “He could beckon more there than what a team is willing to trade for him now. Plus there are injuries. What do they have after Johnson and Pickens? It makes no sense to me, and I’m pretty confident he won’t be traded.”
On Friday, October 28, NFL insider Jordan Schultz had reported that the Steelers’ asking price was a second-round draft pick.
Claypool’s Production Had Declined in 2022
Claypool has been a focal point in Pittsburgh’s offense since he was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. However, his role has diminished this season due to the emergence of rookie George Pickens.
The 24-year-old Claypool has 32 receptions for 311 yards and one touchdown through eight games this season. He’s averaging 9.7 yards per reception and 38.9 receiving yards per game. For perspective, he averaged 14.6 yards per reception and 57.3 receiving yards per game last season.
While Claypool’s production has certainly seen a decline, that has a little bit to do with Pittsburgh’s stagnant offense. The Steelers are averaging just 15.0 points per game, ranking dead last in the league. It doesn’t help that Pittsburgh has moved forward with rookie Kenny Pickett as its starting quarterback. Pickett has thrown two touchdowns versus eight interceptions for a 66.8 passer rating.
Considering the Steelers’ 2-6 record, it’s not that much of a surprise they’re moving the talented young receiver — especially when you consider the high compensation associated for Claypool.
With Pittsburgh likely to complete its first losing season in 19 years, the Steelers are bringing in good value at the trade deadline.