Bears Overreaction: Is the Chase Claypool Trade Too Expensive?

The Bears had a whirlwind last week.

Let’s summarize.

The Bears traded Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles, lost a shootout 49-29 to the Dallas Cowboys, traded Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens and acquired Chase Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was an active trade deadline for general manager Ryan Poles, signaling the end of his demolition and the start of Phase 2 of the rebuild.

Feelings were mixed at the trade deadline. Did the Bears get enough for Smith? Giving up too much for Claypool? Did they do enough to help Justin Fields? What does Claypool’s trade say about Fields’ stance on the new regime?

Let’s sift through the overreactions from the Bears’ hectic trade deadline and loss to the Cowboys.

Overreaction? Yes and no.

Did the Bears overpay to acquire Chase Claypool? yes If you look at the player, the production and the price, a top 40 pick is probably too much to spend.

But these deals are not made in a vacuum.

Should they have traded the pick to the Ravens instead? Sure. But this isn’t Madden. It’s almost certain that the Poles were the first to offer the pick to the Ravens.

If the Green Bay Packers, as reports suggest, were offering the second pick for Claypool, the Bears would have to beat that offer. That means giving up what is likely the better of their two second-round picks. Sometimes that’s the cost of doing business.

You should also consider the cost of not acquiring Claypool.

With the way Justin Fields has been playing lately, the Bears were smart to start rebuilding their 2023 roster at the deadline. Adding an explosive receiver who fits their timeline and still has a season and a half left on his rookie deal makes a lot of sense.

What Claypool does best is also something the Bears offense lacks. Fields is a prolific thrower of the deep ball, and Claypool is an effective rusher with 34 contested catches since 2020.

The poor 2023 free agent class is also involved in the move. By adding Claypool, the Bears can focus their offseason money elsewhere.

This move, like everything else, will be unfairly judged in retrospect. If Claypool and Fields gel and the receiver is cemented as part of Poles’ foundation, it will be said that the pick was worth it. If he fails, the reverse will be true.

The price for Claypool was high. But in my opinion, it was a beneficial move for the Poles, considering all aspects of the deal.

Overreaction? Yes

I’ll frame this as “Should the Bears have gotten more for Roquan?”

When you see players like Bradley Chubb being a first-round pick, it’s easy to think the Bears should have gone first for a 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback.

But given that Smith plays a non-premium position, wants a record extension and has never wavered from his desire for the Bears to trade him, Poles was in a bind.

Getting a second-and-five is pretty good work for a player who wasn’t productive with the ball in a vital spot in head coach Matt Eberflus’ defense and wasn’t interested in mending fences with the front office.

Overreaction? No.

There is no tanking in the NFL. The game is too physical and too dangerous to mail.

But by dealing away two of their best defensive players, the Poles have turned their attention to life after 2022. The Bears are trying to build a winning culture and shape the foundation of what they hope will be a long-term winner.

When it involves trading away guys like Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, it’s hard to reconcile the idea of ​​winning now and building for later.

It’s not an overreaction to say the Bears, without Smith and Quinn, will be worse over the final nine games and likely have a higher pick because of the decision to jettison two defensive captains.

Overreaction? No.

With the addition of Claypool and a weak free agent receiver class, the Bears should put much of the expected $110 million in cap space to use on the lines. Both.

Only Travis Gipson and Dominique Robinson stand out as potential long-term roster pieces when looking at the current defensive line. Justin Jones was good at the three-technique but didn’t show up and show he’s a consistent disruptor. Al-Quadin Muhammad is good in run support, but has just 11 pressures and one sack in eight games, according to Pro Football Focus.

The free agent defensive tackle class isn’t stacked with talent, but there are guys like Daron Payne and Javon Hargrave right now. Payne, 25, probably fits more into the Bears’ chronology than Hargrave, who will soon be 30. Payne is someone I think the Bears should target given his ability to create consistent inside pressure. Larry Ogunjobi is also ready to hit the market again.

On the rim, Marcus Davenport and Yannick Ngaku stand out the most. The Bears should also have edge rushers high on their list of draft needs.

Overreaction? Yes, but check again.

The Class of 2021 QB had a disappointing sophomore season.

We still don’t know what Trey Lance is, Zach Wilson looks like he’s never played quarterback at times, and Trevor Lawrence is struggling in the red zone.

I was a big Fields guy coming out of Ohio State, and I remain convinced that he has the talent to be a franchise quarterback. Damn good.

He’s certainly been playing the best of the 2021 class lately, but I’ll still go with Lawrence. Lawrence ranks sixth in the EPA for sacks outside of the red zone this season, trailing Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Geno Smith.

Now, as Fields and the Bears know, execution in the red zone determines the outcome of games. Lawrence needs to clean that up, but I still think he has superstar talent.

RELATED: Bears locker room shocked by ‘WTF’ Roquan trade.

But if Fields continues to put up good numbers, he could soon overtake Lawrence. They are 1A/1B for me right now.

As for the franchise quarterback label, Fields showed the Bears enough growth to trade a second-round pick for Claypool. This tells you that they have seen it hit the required control points.

Don’t pencil it in for the next five to 10 years yet, but I like the trajectory through eight games.

Overreaction? Yes

Doesn’t knock what Fields does. He has been very impressive in the last month. But the Bears have the best running game in the NFL. That has to count for something.

The offensive line stinks and the receiving corps isn’t special. But the Bears’ running game and Luke Getsy’s adjustments opened things up for Fields.

I don’t have a list of the worst QB situations of the last 5-10 years. But I remember the 2016 Colts not putting a bit around Andrew Luck. I mean, 33-year-old Frank Gore was his best offensive weapon next to Ty Hilton. The offensive line had two rookies. Luck still threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns.

You could also argue that what Tom Brady did with the Patriots in 2019 is up there. Brady had a battered and aging Julian Edelman, N’Kiel Harry, James White, Sony Michel and Phillip Dorsett as his weapons. He threw for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading the Patriots to a 12-4 record.

Fields was good under less than ideal circumstances. But he has thrown just seven touchdown passes and is completing just 58.5 percent of his passes. There is still a lot of room for improvement. But he is moving in the right direction.

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