The Patriots made zero moves before last Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, but they nearly pulled off a blockbuster.
New England made a run at former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Chase Claypool, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported Wednesday. Claypool wound up going to the Bears in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick, with Chicago reportedly also beating out the Green Bay Packers.
“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, speaking on the Patriots’ pursuit of Claypool, said during Wednesday’s “PFT Live” episode. “I have reason to believe that the Patriots were in it up until the very end.”
It’s unclear what New England offered for Clapool. The Steelers reportedly chose the Bears over the Packers because they believe Chicago’s second-round pick ultimately will be higher than Green Bay’s. So, it’s possible that New England also offered a second-round that Pittsburgh deemed less attractive than Chicago’s — but that’s pure speculation.
The Patriots’ reported interest in Claypool shouldn’t come as a surprise. Bill Belichick spoke very highly of the 24-year-old before New England visited Pittsburgh in Week 2.
“Big, fast, really good hands,” Belichick said. Big catch radius. He’s kind of always open. It’s like covering a guy like (Rob) Gronkowski — 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. I know they use him in a variety of ways — down the field, catch-and-run plays, hand him the ball, things like that.
“He’s a big, physical player, can block, block at the point of attack, run. Hard guy to tackle. Downfield receiver as well as a short and intermediate receiver. He can get you a lot of different ways. Tough matchup.”