NFL analyst says trade for Claypool to evaluate Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Bears kept the ball rolling in the trade market after dealing away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith – this time acquiring Chase Claypool in exchange for their 2023 second-round pick.
Ryan Poles & Co. are finally addressing the dire need for pass catchers to help Justin Fields. So far this season, Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet – the team's highest anticipated pass catchers – have underperformed.
In turn, the Bears are helping Fields by bringing in a capable, athletic, big receiver to throw to. And his size helps. We've already seen Fields connect with another large receiver – N'Keal Harry – on the field.
But, other pundits believe Chicago's front office has an ulterior motive for acquiring Claypool.
"Now you get a sense, is Chicago doing this?" Colin Cowherd asked on his show as he reacted to the trade. "This GM [Ryan Poles] didn't draft Justin Fields, and nor did this coach [Matt Eberflus]. So they're like, 'Why wait until next year? Let's give him weapons now and watch the next 7,8,9, 10 games.
"It's a good quarterback draft. Is Chicago saying, 'Why wait?' Let's go see what he is with Cole Kmet, Armstrong, Herbert, Mooney... Is this a building for the future, or let's see what we have with Justin Fields?"
Cowherd is pointing to the idea that the Bears' front office is attempting to set up Fields for success now, and if he fails, the regime would quickly move on from him.
As overreactions go for a trade, this one stands alone at the top.
Despite all the rumors swirling about the Bears' potential drafting of a quarterback in the 2023 NFL draft, it is highly unlikely the Bears would move on from Fields after spending just two years in the league.
Look at the last two weeks as evidence to this notion.
Fields helped lead a horrendous Bears' offense to a 33-point blowout over the New England Patriots and a 29-point showing against the Dallas Cowboys – one of the toughest defenses in the league.
The second-year quarterback has shown the team what he can do with his feet and with his arm downfield. He's developing into a respectable quarterback in the league without much support around him.
The Bears have one of the worst offensive line and wide receiver units in the league. Yet, Fields has somehow pulled out three wins and exceptional offensive performances despite the hindrances.
Let's think logically. The quarterback position is the highest-paid position in football. Teams have shown they'll pay up to $50 million per year for a viable quarterback.
Why not keep Fields on his rookie deal over the next two years? What's the point in risking his development for another rookie to go jump through the same hoops Fields has already cleared?
There's not enough support or evidence surrounding Fields' play to rule him out as the Bears' long-term quarterback.
For now, the Bears are attempting to build around him, and the job isn't finished.
"The Chicago Bears are growing up right in front of our eyes," Cowherd said.
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