Steelers Reportedly Thought Chase Claypool Was a ‘Distraction’ Before Bears Trade

by Dustin Schutte
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers made one of the biggest moves at the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday. The organization traded wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2023 Draft.

On paper, it looked like a legitimate trade that didn’t need much of an explanation. Apparently, though, there’s a little more to the story. The Steelers had a reason to part ways with the third-year receiver.

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported that Pittsburgh thought Claypool became a “distraction” leading up to the trade deadline.

“From what I am hearing and been hearing over the last week the Steelers moved on from what they felt lie was somewhat of a ‘distraction’ behind the scenes,” Anderson shared on Twitter. “I’m told the Claypool move has been on the table ‘for at least two weeks,’ per league source.”

Like the Steelers this season, Claypool struggled through the first eight games. He caught 32 passes and was targeted 50 times during the season totaling 311 yards and a touchdown.

Perhaps a fresh start in Chicago will help Claypool get back on track. Plus, Bears quarterback Justin Fields is desperate for more playmakers at receiver, and Claypool could help address that need.

Steelers Looking for Change in Offense

It’s unlikely that trading Chase Claypool will magically enhance the Pittsburgh Steelers offense overnight. But the trade comes just a few days after quarterback Kenny Pickett talked about the team needing to make some changes.

“Something’s got to change, right? It’s insane to do the same thing over and over and expect something different,” Pickett said after a 35-13 loss to the Eagles, according to Brian Batko of the Post-Gazette. “We’ve been having these problems all year, that has to get changed.”

Pickett’s first four games as a starter in the NFL have not gone well. He’s been sacked 12 times, thrown seven interceptions and has just two touchdown passes. That’s … not good.

Taking a receiver out of the room may not be the lone cure, but if Pittsburgh really felt like Claypool was becoming a distraction, it could help team chemistry moving forward.