Report: Patriots were in on Chase Claypool at NFL trade deadline

Were Patriots close to trading for Chase Claypool at deadline? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots reportedly fielded calls about several of their veteran wide receivers prior to the NFL trade deadline. But apparently they were also considering adding a veteran wideout.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Wednesday on NBC's "PFT Live" that the Patriots showed legitimate interest in Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool before Pittsburgh traded him to the Chicago Bears for a 2023 second-round pick.

"I think based upon the way this all fell together yesterday ... I think the Patriots were in it up until the end, I do," Florio said of New England's pursuit of Claypool. "I have reason to believe that the Patriots were in it up until the very end."

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On its surface, the Patriots' pursuit of Claypool is a bit puzzling. The team already has a surplus of wideouts in Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and rookie Tyquan Thornton, so why would it want to add another pass-catcher to the mix?

But it's important to note that Bill Belichick is a big fan of Claypool's, to the point where he compared the 24-year-old wide receiver to legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"Big, fast, really good hands, big catch radius. He's kind of always open -- reminds me of a guy like Gronkowski," Belichick said prior to New England's Week 2 matchup with the Steelers. "No matter where you are on him, there's a place where he can reach and get the ball that you can't reach and get the ball."

If Belichick really reminds Claypool of arguably the greatest tight end of all time, we can see why the Patriots coveted him on the trade market. He's also on a team-friendly rookie deal -- four years, $6.6 million through 2023 -- so if New England had been able to trade one of its veteran wideouts while bringing in Claypool, that would have freed up additional cap space.

The Patriots didn't move any players at the deadline, however, which may partly explain why Claypool is in Chicago instead of Foxboro.