There Was Sound Reasoning Behind The Trades that the Bears Made This Week

Mike Jones at The Athletic says that the Bears were both winners and losers at the NFL trade deadline.

“Chicago Bears: The Bears have an eye on the offseason already and parted with a disgruntled Smith and 32-year-old Robert Quinn while getting a second-, fourth- and fifth-rounder in return.”


“Chicago Bears: Was this week a total win for the Bears? Clearly, they aren’t in full rebuild mode as they bring in [Chase] Claypool — a bit of a confusing move. Yes, it gives Justin Fields an upgraded No. 1 target. But … people around the league believe they overpaid for a receiver who’s not elite, and who wants to be paid. To justify this move, the Bears will have to open up the checkbook this offseason.”

I have to disagree with Jones here. I wasn’t a bit confused by the move for Claypool and I don’t think that there’s a conflict in the message that it sounds.

The Bears were building for the future with those moves. Quite simply, they saw a real Roquan Smith as a player at a less valuable position. Despite having a great deal of cap space next year, the Bears still have to pick and choose where they are going to sink their resources. In that respect, off the ball linebackers don’t make the grade unless they are Brian Urlacher types. Smith is a good player but no one in Baltimore is going to be reminded of Ray Lewis. who was not going to be here in 2024 when the Bears will [cough might cough] be good again.

On the other hand, they saw Claypool as a young piece around whom they believed that they could build at a valuable position. They plan on Claypool being here in 2024. That made him more valuable than Smith to them in their particular situation.

Adam Jahns, also at The Athletic agrees that the Bears were focusing on the future when they traded for Claypool.

Poles acknowledged that the receivers who likely will be available in free agency next year factored into the Bears’ decision-making. Too many potential free agents have already re-signed with their original teams. And, regardless of the Bears’ cap room, Poles has shown that he’s not going to pay close-to-elite money for players who aren’t close to elite.

“You have to do a little bit of forecasting and looking down the road,” Poles said. “I just didn’t feel completely comfortable with that. Not to say that there’s not good players there. I just didn’t feel comfortable with not (being) maybe a little bit more aggressive at this point.”

“The same applies to the draft. Poles isn’t going to reveal in November how the Bears feel about receivers in the 2023 class, but Dane Brugler, The Athletic’s draft analyst, has a good idea of what the 2023 class has in terms of high-end talent and depth.

p style=”margin-left: 36pt”>“We have had five-plus receivers drafted in the first round each of the last three years, but that streak likely ends this year,” Brugler told me. “And we don’t have a wide receiver prospect in this class who is a no-doubt, top-10 pick. But there are still quality receiving prospects in this class.”


This was also the larger context of Jone’s article. And this is the reason why The Bears were winners with both trades until we see how Claypool works out, that is. There was no conflict.

As Jones says, the Bears did overpay for Claypool. There’s no doubt about that and the Steelers were perhaps the biggest winners here. They were fortunate to have a decent, physically gifted young player with upside that they could part with in a year where there was limited high end wide receiver depth in both the draft and free agency.

Its no coincidence that the Packers were the Bears major competition for Claypool and drove up the price. Both teams need wide receiver help is a major way and had no other way to get it.

The Packers have always values the kind of size that Claypool brings and don’t mind receivers that tend to drop the ball as much as most teams because they can make big plays to overcome it when it happens. Bears offense coordinator Luke Getsy brings that philosophy to the Bears.

It added up to a hefty price for Claypool, a player who probably won’t be a clear number 1, at least right away, but who is still better than anyone either team has on hand now. The Steelers cashed in.

But I can’t blame the Bears. They needed Claypool or a player like hm and there was just no other way to get him. Because of that, I congratulate Poles on the move and don’t consider him to be a loser in this deal.

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