Updated: Feb 10, 2022
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Chase Claypool had a disappointing sophomore campaign in Pittsburgh. And the problems were a combination of poor technique, lack of focus and maturity issues. It was just an all-around bad year for Claypool, and that's why wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard is probably no longer with the Steelers and Frisman Jackson is now the receivers coach. While Diontae Johnson was more productive than Claypool, he also struggled with focus and maturity issues as well, especially late in the year.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN was on 93.7 The Fan this afternoon with Andrew Fillipponi, and Fowler said agents he's talked to think Claypool is a player that the Steelers will get trade calls on this offseason. Teams will be looking to buy low because of the maturity issues, according to Fowler.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington most likely leaving the Steelers via free agency in March, they'll be really thin at the wide receivers position, so I'd be really surprised if the Steelers traded Claypool. He had a great rookie season but fell off in Year 2. And I think the maturity issues played a big part. It seemed like he got cocky after his impressive rookie season. But defensive coordinators in the NFL catch on quickly, and having just one good season doesn't guarantee consistent success.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers understandably weren't happy with Claypool's antics in 2021. There was the suggestion for music to be played at practice the day after the Steelers got blown out 41-10 to the Bengals in Week 12, and then there was the infamous first-down point celebration against the Vikings in Week 14 that cost the Steelers valuable time on a final drive and they ended up losing 36-28.
As mentioned, along with the focus and maturity issues. Claypool needs to clean up his technique as he was sloppy in his routes at times in 2021 and was often falling over on deep balls. Hopefully, Jackson can help fine-tune Claypool's game. There might be teams who call about Claypool, but given that he's heading into Year 3 and the Steelers are most likely set to lose Smith-Schuster and Washington, I just can't see a trade coming to fruition.
If Claypool somehow ended up getting dealt, the Steelers should garner at least a second-round pick.