The Dolphins will send a 2025 sixth-round pick to the Bears for Claypool and a 2025 seventh-round pick.
The trade comes one week after the Dolphins placed wide receivers River Cracraft and Erik Ezukanma on injured reserve and the non-football injury list, respectively, although coach Mike McDaniel said the team wasn’t necessarily looking for help at the position. When Claypool was made available by the Bears, McDaniel and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier believed it provided an opportunity to improve the team.
“It was an opportunity to take advantage of. We definitely weren’t looking for receiver help,” McDaniel said. “It wasn’t in that nature at all — very, very happy with our receiving corps. But I think one thing that Chris and I have always agreed upon, and how we operate and do business, is you have to stay steadfast to the commitment of making your team as good as it can be.
“So sometimes things come across your radar that you aren’t even looking for, but when you assess it, if it falls under the category of: this has a chance to make us better.”
Claypool, 25, spent less than a year with the Bears, who traded a second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 1 to get him. Claypool ended up playing 10 games in Chicago over two seasons, totaling 18 receptions for 191 yards and one touchdown. The Bears are saving an estimated $2.2 million against the salary cap by trading Claypool.
On Sept. 29, the wide receiver expressed frustration with how he was being used in Chicago’s offense, and he was inactive after being told by the team not to attend the Week 4 game against the Denver Broncos. Chicago team officials then told Claypool on Monday that he would be inactive against Washington and requested that he remain away from the team while it prepared for the Commanders.
Ahead of the Bears’ 40-20 win over the Commanders on Thursday, general manager Ryan Poles expressed disappointment in how things had unfolded with Claypool less than a year after taking a big swing to land the former second-round pick to aid in the development of quarterback Justin Fields.
“I think Chase is going to learn from this situation, we all will, and I wish him luck moving forward throughout his career,” Poles said on ESPN 1000’s pregame radio show.
The Dolphins own the NFL’s top passing offense in yards per game and yards per play, led by receivers Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Braxton Berrios. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Claypool gives Miami a physical presence at receiver that it currently lacks.
McDaniel said he was aware of Claypool’s purported character concerns but is offering the Notre Dame product a clean slate.
“Everybody hears things, and so I think it’s very, very important that you let people tell you who they are,” McDaniel said. “And I see better than I hear. There’s so many things that can go on in certain circumstances. … I’m not going to make myself wrong with something that I don’t know by judging X, Y or Z. We give you the opportunity to define who you are in the most honest, organic, real way possible.
“It’s always a nice litmus test for your locker room when guys come in; you can see where you’re at. I’m very confident that our guys will embrace him and we’ll move forward with a new teammate.”
Claypool was not at the Dolphins’ facility for practice Friday.
Armstead, a four-time Pro Bowler, will miss at least the next four games after injuring a knee in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. McDaniel said Armstead will return at some point this season. Kendall Lamm will presumably start in his stead.
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.
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