Trade for 'explosive' Claypool signals Bears believe in Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Ryan Poles and the Bears heard the calls to build around Justin Fields. The pleas to give the second-year quarterback any weapon not named Darnell Mooney.
Poles finally answered those calls Tuesday when he traded the Bears' 2023 second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for third-year wide receiver Chase Claypool.
Fields has started to stack good performances, and the trade for Claypool signals Poles has seen enough to invest in the young quarterback.
"I am excited about this player," Poles said of Claypool on Tuesday at Halas Hall. "I've really liked the way that our offense is starting to come together and move. I thought it was important to add another impact player for our offense to go along with the guys that we currently have in the receivers room right now.
"I like the way Justin is trending, and I think adding another big body who's physical, explosive, great leaping ability, can stretch the field but also is violent with the ball in his hand as well as a blocker, I think that enhances everyone around him."
Poles comes from Kansas City. He witnessed Patrick Mahomes' growth firsthand and knows how vital it is to give a young quarterback the requisite weapons to foster their development.
In Claypool, the Bears get an athletic marvel who is an efficient go-route runner and has the vertical ability to make contested catches down the field. Fields is a prolific deep-ball thrower without a big-body receiver who can go up and get one 30 yards downfield.
Think back to Sunday's 49-29 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas. The Bears tried multiple times to stretch the field vertically. Fields underthrew Equanimeous St. Brown on the first attempt, but the receiver could have made a better effort to come back to the ball. Velus Jones Jr. flat-out dropped a 53-yard touchdown on the Bears' second deep-ball effort.
Perhaps if that's Claypool, those are two big-time completions.
Poles made it clear Tuesday that the growth Fields has shown of late gave them the desire to add a legit weapon to their arsenal.
This move is all about Fields.
"As a quarterback, and you all know where I come from, you can never have enough weapons and guys that help your quarterback gain confidence," Poles said." I know a lot of the guys are starting to make plays for us. Adding another receiver is going to allow him to continue to grow and gain that confidence."
The Bears have liked what they have seen from Justin Fields. Now, they want to see how good he can be with more weapons at his disposal.
The season started with questions about Fields' ability to become a franchise quarterback. In trading what likely will be a top-40 pick for Claypool, the Bears told you they already know the answer.
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