The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need to regroup during their upcoming Week 9 bye, but first, they’re taking care of business. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on October 23 that they would have to be “bowled over” to consider parting ways with wide receiver Chase Claypool before the trade deadline. Apparently, they were because they did.
On November 1, the Steelers traded Claypool to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2023 second-round draft pick. Chicago had two picks in that round — their own and one received on October 31 for linebacker Roquan Smith. Rapoport reported that Pittsburgh will get Chicago’s original second-round pick, which could be in the 40s.
The trade went down while beat writers conducted interviews in the Steelers’ locker room.
ESPN’s Brooke Pryor observed the mood change in the Steelers locker room shortly after Claypool wrapped his interviews and exited.
“Chase Claypool was at Steelers practice today and did interviews afterward,” Pryor tweeted. “Shortly after, Claypool left the locker room and 15-20 min after that, news broke that he had been traded. Locker room was emptying out, but those around got noticeably quieter.”
After news of the trade broke, DK Pittsburgh Sports’ Corey Crisan connected the dots. He tweeted, “Explains my hearing of Diontae Johnson yelling, ‘CHICAGO!?’ while we were in the Steelers locker room.”
“I seen some rumors on Instagram that he was going to the Packers,” Johnson said with a smile. “But then BOOM… I’m happy for him. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Who Will Fill Chase Claypool’s Shoes for Steelers?
We’ll know more when the Pittsburgh Steelers resume normal operations following the Week 9 bye week, but speculation of who will step into Chase Claypool’s role began immediately following the trade.
Who might benefit the most from Claypool being moved to Chicago? It could be a guy like Diontae Johnson, the most veteran of the Steelers receivers.
“I can play anywhere on the field,” Johnson said when asked if he would be open to playing more in the slot.
It’s just a matter of whether that opportunity presents itself.
“If the play get called, and I get a chance to play inside. I’m hoping, though.”
“He’s been making plays when called upon, and I think based on what we’ve seen, it’s reasonable to expect that to continue,” Mike Tomlin said in a November 2 press conference.
Tomlin added that there are a number of guys in line for more looks.
“Gunner [Olszweski], Miles Boykin, man, we’ve got some guys that have logged some game time and appear to be poised for an increased role,” said Tomlin. “Some guys with some NFL experience that we’re comfortable with.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers get back to work on Monday, November 7, as they prepare for the New Orleans Saints to come marching into Acrisure Stadium.