2. The NY Jets could trade for Chase Claypool
There is already a significant amount of support building for the Jets to trade for Atlanta Falcons star receiver Calvin Ridley. There are arguments for and against acquiring the talented former Alabama pass-catcher, but many teams will be lining up for Ridley's services, not just the Jets.
Some people have also suggested Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf as a potential trade target for the Jets. He could be, but the asking price will be a hefty one to pay.
Don't expect Seattle, who has boatloads of cap space ($51 million), to unload Metcalf on the cheap. And maybe, just maybe, when Joe Douglas makes the call, Seattle might decide to hang up the phone this time, and they might ask for the 2022 "Jamal Adams pick" in return.
Calvin Ridley and DK Metcalf are not the only options the Jets can explore in the trade market at the receiver position. One of them could be Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool. The 23-year old could be on the trade block this coming offseason.
The Jets need more reliable targets in their passing attack, but New York specifically lacks a physical presence on offense, especially in the red zone area.
While the Jets could and will very likely explore filling this problem spot with one or two tight end acquisitions through the draft and free agency, adding someone who fits that mold at receiver could also be in play.
Ironically enough, because of his size and physical nature, Claypool had teams looking at him as a potential tight end when he worked out at the combine in 2020. Claypool is not only a willing blocker, but he relishes that part of his game.
It's an aspect of Claypool's game that can be an asset in the Jets' offensive attack, specifically for the type of scheme that Mike LaFleur deploys.
Claypool could be the type of low-risk, high reward option the Jets opt for through the trade market. And the Steelers, who appear headed towards a potential rebuild this offseason, might be willing to entertain dealing away their enigmatic young receiver.
The Canadian-born product Claypool is a freak of nature. At 6-foot-4, and nearly 240 pounds, with 4.40 timed speed and a 40-inch vertical leap. It's easy to see why the Steelers became enamored with him coming out of Notre Dame during the draft process two years ago.
Although Claypool's receiving statistics this past season (59 receptions for 860 yards) look relatively similar to his promising rookie campaign in 2020 (62-873) when he was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, Claypool is coming off of what can be considered a down year.
The expectation level in 2021 was reasonably high for him, and Pittsburgh was expecting Claypool to break out as a genuine superstar.
A year after finding the end zone 11 times, Claypool's scoring totals in 2021 were down — he produced only two touchdowns. The bloom came off the rose a bit for Chase in year two, partly due to perceived immaturity on and off the field.
The Steelers have plenty of projected cap space heading into the offseason (roughly $41 million), so this wouldn't be a financial-based decision for them.
The real question is, does the Pittsburgh organization want to keep Claypool in their building? Especially considering that they will most likely be breaking in a young quarterback.
The Steelers are looking to add draft capital. Dealing Claypool away would have very little to do with his salary and more to do with changing the culture in their locker room and shifting assets elsewhere.
And because Claypool has two years left on his rookie deal, there will be a market for his services if Pittsburgh decides to explore that possibility.
Chase Claypool checks off all the boxes from a talent standpoint of the type of receiver the Jets do not currently have. A true outside receiver who can block, break tackles in the open field, out-jump defenders in the red area, and occasionally even play some running back — kind of a jumbo-sized version of Deebo Samuel.
The Jets will be looking for a receiver that matches Claypool's skill set this offseason. Perhaps, they can make a play for him instead.