The Chicago Bears are making polarizing wide receiver Chase Claypool a healthy scratch for their Week 4 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Brass apparently took exception to the work ethic Claypool displayed this week in practice.
“Sources say the reason for Claypool’s deactivation was a multitude of factors,” wrote Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on October 1. “Including how players are asked to operate on a daily basis and how they prepare for games.”
Bears Bench Chase Claypool, Name Tyson Bagent No. 2 QB
Chase Claypool’s Tenure Has Been Rough
Claypool was also at the center of the Bears’ latest media firestorm. He was asked about being put in the best position to succeed and, after a noticeable pause, answered, “no”. He went on to explain that he wouldn’t say the situation was “not ideal,”. Instead, he insisted that they were working towards that.
Here is #Bears WR Chase Claypool's response to whether or not he has been put in the best position to succeed.
He was also asked how he can be better utilized going forward. pic.twitter.com/vsUDAptX4o
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) September 29, 2023
The 6-foot-4 wideout has just four receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown through three games. But the Bears’ offense has struggled as a whole.
Acquired with a second-round pick ahead of the deadline last season, this is a recurring issue. Claypool’s maturity was the subject of debate in his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and followed him through the trade, this past offseason, and into the regular season despite what was, by all accounts, a promising training camp and OTAs. He was even called out for poor blocking during the Bears’ Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Pittsburgh used the pick Chicago surrendered to select Joey Porter Jr. in this year’s draft. They also selected wide receiver George Pickens with the No. 52 overall pick in 2022. That is 13 slots after the Bears selected cornerback Kyler Gordon – who is on injured reserve with a broken hand – and safety Jaquan Brisker.
Sources: The #Bears are looking to trade WR Chase Claypool, asking for a 5th-or-6th round pick in return.
GM Ryan Poles has been actively calling teams he believes are in the market for a receiver.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) October 1, 2023
In Claypool’s stead, the Bears will have Equanimeous St. Brown active for the first time this season.
Chicago signed St. Brown to a one-year extension this past offseason. He was initially brought in for his familiarity with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s system and is highly regarded for his blocking ability. The 6-foot-5 St. Brown caught 21 passes for 323 yards and one touchdown last season.
Bears Have New Backup Quarterback
It’s not just St. Brown who will have a new role on Sunday as the Bears have also promoted rookie Tyson Bagent to the No. 2 quarterback slot over Nathan Peterman behind Justin Fields whose struggles have had fans calling for the undrafted free agent. Bagent has said he stood behind Fields and has talked about the locker room staying together.
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) September 21, 2023
NBC Sports’ Peter King suggested that Fields’ time as the Bears’ starting quarterback could be in jeopardy later this season
But Rapoport’s report suggests this was always the plan for Bagent.
“Bagent impressed in camp, but the organization wanted to give him some time to get acclimated due to the jump in competition from Division II to the NFL,” Rapoport wrote. “Now, he’ll serve as Fields’ backup against the Broncos.”
Bears, Broncos Looking to Avoid 0-4 Start
This is a lot of tumult for a team looking to turn things around. If the results don’t follow, the changes will be more dramatic down the line. That’s not just talking about Fields or anyone else on the roster, either. It’s possible that team president Kevin Warren – who was brought in after Bears general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus – makes those changes.
As anyone in the Bears’ locker room will tell you, though, there is still a lot of season left to be played. That also applies to opinions being swayed.