The Arizona Cardinals will need to look at any possible avenue for a capable complement to star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
If the Cardinals were to lose A.J. Green and 2021 leading receiving target Christian Kirk to free agency, quarterback Kyler Murray would have second-year Rondale Moore, Antoine Wesley and Andy Isabella as his next three wide receivers in 2022.
ALL the latest Cardinals news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cardinals newsletter here!
General manager Steve Keim can scour the free agency market and the draft to find an answer at wide receiver.
The Cardinals will be an active team and one writer gave an ideal trade scenario in the offseason.
Proposal Sends Young Playmaker to Arizona
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine wrote a piece on hypothetical trades for every NFL team “based on each team’s needs and financial situation.”
“Claypool is the kind of big-bodied downfield threat the Cardinals were looking for when they acquired (A.J) Green,” said Ballentine. “Unlike the veteran receiver, he’s only 23 years old and heading into the third year of his rookie contract that will pay him just $1.8 million next season.”
The Cardinals would be getting a 6’4, 238-pound receiver that uses his body at any means necessary for a reception.
Ballentine mentioned that ESPN had the idea of the Steelers possibly trading Claypool. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler brought up the fact head coach Mike Tomlin had to address the receiver’s “missteps” and “growth and development” concerns. On December 10, Claypool wasted time on the clock by posing after a first-down late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers ended up losing to the Vikings 36-28.
Despite his maturity red flags, Claypool is just 23 years old and has caught 121 receptions in two seasons forking out 1,733 yards. This is all while being a No. 2 receiver behind Diontae Johnson with an offense ranked 25th and 23rd over the last two years. Claypool’s touchdown total went from nine in 2020 to two in 2021. But that could be largely due to the Steelers’ underwhelming offensive play under Ben Roethlisberger, who retired after the season.
It’s easy to think the Cardinals would entertain acquiring the former Notre Dame receiver’s services.
Would Steelers Entertain Claypool Trade?
While current general manager Kevin Colbert, who drafted Claypool in 2020, will be stepping down after the 2022 NFL draft, the team has shown no signs of wanting to rebuild. The team made the playoffs last season with a feeble Roethlisberger in a very tough AFC North division.
The Steelers also have fellow receiver Juju Smith-Shuster entering free agency. There are already enough moving parts with a team that has no quarterback answer at the moment.
A Claypool trade would make plenty of sense on the Cardinals’ end. Ballentine brought up Kingsbury’s offense requiring multiple receivers who can make plays. While Ballentine didn’t bring up a trade price, it’s possible Claypool is right around his original draft worth of a second-round pick.
However, it isn’t feasible for the Steelers to make such a drastic move knowing they still want to contend. Pittsburgh just drafted running back Najee Harris in the first round and tight end Pat Freiermuth in 2021.