In corresponding moves, the Chicago Bears activated starting left guard Teven Jenkins ahead of their Thursday Night Football matchup against the Washington Commanders and cut backup quarterback Nathan Peterman. They also elevated defensive back AJ Thomas from the practice with three starters injured.
But the loudest piece of business may be Chase Claypool’s looming release. General Manager Ryan Poles’ appearance on ESPN 1000 ahead of Thursday’s contest at least hinted as much.
“You’re always disappointed in this situation and it’s definitely something I take ownership of,” Poles said, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN on October 5. “The right thought process was there and I feel comfortable with that. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and we were hoping for him to be a little bit more productive and be someone that could help us take it to the next level.”
Bears GM on Chase Claypool Trade: ‘It Didn’t Work Out’
Chase Claypool’s Time in Chicago Appears to be Ending
Claypool was deactivated after saying he didn’t feel he was being put in a position to succeed.
Claypool was impressing coaches and teammates with what seemed like a turned corner. A hamstring injury stunted that progress – and a rough start to the season – exacerbated an already tenuous situation.
Poles said the Bears are "taking it day by day to figure out what our next move is" with Chase Claypool, who remains on the roster while inactive tonight. He's been away from the Bears all week at the team's behest.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) October 5, 2023
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the No. 32 overall pick they received from the Bears for Claypool.
It wasn’t that pick at the time of the deal but the sting is the same nonetheless.
Ryan Poles Defends Chase Claypool
“You have a player going into his free agent year, who wants to be productive and help us, and when things aren’t going the right way, sometimes you get emotional, things don’t work out and you struggle to blend in and keep resilient and stay resilient,” Poles said. “Chase is going to learn from this situation, we all will, and I wish him luck moving forward throughout his career.”
Claypool had been one of the teammates to stand in solidarity with quarterback Justin Fields. Fields had done the same for him. Claypool called the embattled passer a “great player” and encouraged him not to worry about the outside noise.
The two could often be seen chatting during training camp so the sentiments seem genuine.
Head coach Matt Eberflus insisted it was not just the comments that affected their decision. Those came after the game plan was installed anyway. The head coach cited practice habits during the week as a big factor.
Claypool was called out for poor effort while blocking in Week 1. He came back with much better efforts in the weeks that followed.
Production has remained hard to come by, though.
He has four receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown this season. If this is the end of his Bears tenure, Claypool will finish with 18 receptions on 49 targets for 151 yards and the one score in 10 games with five starts. He is still expected to have several suitors if he is granted his outright release from the Bears.