Bears Bosses Sent GM 5-Word Message After….

Bears Bosses Sent GM 5-Word Message After Chase Claypool.

The Chicago Bears higher-ups had one crystal clear message for general manager Ryan Poles after his trade for wide receiver Chase Claypool blew up in his face toward the middle of the 2023 season: “Keeping shooting your shot, man.”

During the opening statement of his January 10 end-of-season press conference, Poles thanked both Bears chairperson George McCaskey and team president Kevin Warren for their “leadership” and “support” throughout the 2023 season.

Poles also called back to a specific moment during the year that he will “never forget” when he received a strong vote of confidence from his bosses following “a trade that didn’t go well” for him, referencing the Claypool trade without naming him specifically.

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“[McCaskey and Warren] support our vision,” Poles said. “One of the things that I’ll never forget is reflecting in the middle of the year on a trade that didn’t go well for me. I was bummed about it, took ownership of it. I always have a decision log I go through and talk about what I can do better. And we met on that and they both supported me in terms of saying, ‘Keep shooting your shot, man.’

‘If you put your log together, you’re hitting those boxes that it feels right and it’s going to help our team, keep shooting your shot.’ And for a decision-maker to have that type of support is incredible.”

Chase Claypool Proved to be a Disaster for the Bears

The Bears felt confident about their decision to trade for Claypool coming into the 2023 season. The second-round price they paid to acquire him from the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up being steeper than they imagined — No. 33 overall — but they believed they had bypassed the free agent market to land a quality starter for Year 2 of their rebuild.

Instead, what Claypool actually brought to the Bears was a problematic personality who provided noticeably low effort in games and made snide remarks about the coaches and his role in the offense to the media in the locker room. He caught just four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in the first three games before the Bears grew tired of his antics and started making him a healthy inactive on game days.

To Poles’ credit, he recognized he made a mistake with Claypool and acted quickly to correct things when it became apparent he would not work out for the Bears. He traded Claypool and a seventh-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a sixth-round pick, just one day after Chicago beat Washington and snapped a 14-game losing streak.

Still, the sunk cost left a sting. The Bears could have acquired a valuable rookie on a four-year contract with the second-rounder they gave up for Claypool. They might have even landed another pass-catcher with the pick, as Jayden Reed, Rashee Rice, Marvin Mims Jr. and Tank Dell would have all still been on the board at No. 33 overall.

At least Poles can take solace in knowing the Dolphins didn’t crack the code and figure out a way to unlock Claypool’s potential, either. He played in nine games for Miami during the regular season and caught just four passes for 26 yards and one first down.

Bears Must Acquire More WR Help for 2024 Season

For reasons beyond Chase Claypool, the Bears are going to be on the hunt for more receiving help during the 2024 offseason. They have DJ Moore locked into place as their No. 1 receiver after an exceptional first season in Chicago in 2023, but Darnell Mooney and Equanimeous St. Brown are both due to become free agents in March.

If the Bears extend neither of them, they would be heading into the start of 2024 free agency with a receiving corps consisting of Moore, Tyler Scott and Velus Jones Jr., which is undeniable for a roster looking to improve upon its 7-10 record in 2023.

Fortunately, the Bears are in a good place to invest in the receiver position. The fan-favorite route to improving the position is using one of their first-round picks — Nos. 1 and 9 overall — on one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL draft class. Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. makes the most sense if they target a receiver with their top pick, especially if they decide not to take a quarterback and trade down to 2nd or 3rd overall.

LSU’s Malik Nabers and Washington’s Rome Odunze also give them high-level options if they do decide to use the No. 1 pick on a quarterback and want a receiver at No. 9.

The 2024 free agency class also has a few noteworthy names. Gabe Davis might be the most appealing veteran on the market if the Buffalo Bills do not re-sign him, but Minnesota’s K.J. Osborn is also enticing if they are looking for someone who can provide experience but not demand the No. 2 spotlight from a highly-touted rookie.

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