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Are the Steelers willing to trade Chase Claypool?

From star QBs to top defensive players in the league, Mike Florio and Chris Simms name which players teams would never consider trading, no matter how appealing of an offer.

With plenty of receivers being traded this year, the challenge becomes figuring out the next one who could move from one city to the next.

One name that continues to percolate is Steelers receiver Chase Claypool.

From a big-picture perspective, the Steelers may not be inclined or able to give Claypool the kind of contract he’ll want, as soon as the current season ends. They know how to draft and develop receivers. The position has potentially become for the Steelers what the pass-rushing linebacker gig once was. Good veteran exits, another player enters, becomes good, and on it goes.

But here’s the basic reality. If the Steelers have decided that they won’t be paying Claypool market value or close to it, what’s the rush in trading him? If the compensation will come in the form of 2023 draft picks, the Steelers can trade him in March and get the same deal -- and they get to use him for the balance of the season.

Then there’s the possibility that the Steelers will win this weekend (crazier things have happened). If they upset the Eagles and enter the bye at 3-5, they may think they’re still potential contenders for a playoff run. If they lose, it’s easier to sell assets at the deadline.

Ultimately, the question may be whether they think they’re getting more now or later for Claypool. If they can set up an auction in the short term among teams that believe they’re a receiver away from being a Super Bowl contender, maybe the Steelers will end up with more now than later.

Regardless of the timing, Claypool becomes an obvious candidate to eventually land with a different team. He’ll want more than the Steelers will pay, and it will be impossible for the Steelers to justify anything close to what he wants, given the limited extent that they use him.

Through seven games in 2022, Claypool has been targeted 44 times, with 28 catches for 266 yards and one touchdown. His best year came in 2020, with 62 catches for 873 yards and 11 touchdowns.