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2022 South Side Questions: Would Steelers Have Given Up Claypool For Less As Deadline Approached?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: Would the Steelers have taken less for Chase Claypool if not for a bidding war between divisional rivals?

The Pittsburgh Steelers did something rather rare for themselves at the trade deadline yesterday, moving one of their own assets in exchange for draft capital in-season, purely motivated by resource concerns.

While the team did trade disgruntled edge rusher Melvin Ingram last year, that was motivated primarily by the player’s own desire to be traded, and not what they could get for him. Barring that move, Pittsburgh hasn’t traded a player in-season since 1993.

And from a business point of view, how could they not? While Claypool certainly has talent and you could make a pretty good highlight reel from his two and a half years in Pittsburgh, they are getting back what figures to be a top-half second-round draft pick back from the Chicago Bears.

It was reported that the Green Bay Packers, the team that had been most connected with Claypool during trade discussions, also offered the Steelers a second-round pick, and it’s safe to deduce that the interdivisional bidding between the two drove up his price.

But the question is, what Pittsburgh have moved him for less? If only the Packers (or only the Bears) were making an offer for Claypool, and the deadline was drawing near, would they have pulled the trigger on a third-round pick?

This is an answer that we probably will never get—certainly not directly from the club, because that’s just not the kind of thing most would say publicly. From all appearances, it never sounded as though the Steelers were motivated to move Claypool, but yet a high third-round pick would still have been tempting value.

While I find reports about Claypool being a “distraction” specious, the practical implication of the move does mean that there is an even bigger role for rookie wide receiver George Pickens, as well as an opportunity to open up the offense to a wider variety of personnel combinations, particularly two-tight end sets.

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