Thus far, the tree has borne little fruit.
In five games with the Bears, Claypool has 12 catches on 22 targets for 111 yards and zero touchdowns. Given that he was thrown in the fire with a new club midseason, it's disappointing but not stunning that Claypool has taken time to get more involved in the offense. Coming out of the bye week, the hope is that the 24-year-old's grasp of the scheme will be complete a month later.
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said Tuesday that it's still a work in progress.
"I wouldn't say he's there yet," Eberflus told reporters. "I would say he's getting there. He's getting there and working there just like everybody else. But again, it's all new to him and there's a lot of volume of offense that he has to learn and he's getting there.
"He needs alignment, assignment and get all the things down, the route depths and the routes, the discipline of running the routes. He's in a good spot. He's in a good spot. We're looking forward for him to get better every single week."
The Bears paid a hefty price to bring in Claypool at the deadline. Sending a high second-rounder to Pittsburgh for a player with just a year remaining on his rookie contract is a lot. For it to be worth it, the Bears need to see the chemistry between Claypool and quarterback Justin Fields down the stretch.
Chicago is already eliminated from the postseason. The Bears are playing for development. Claypool represents an effort to buffer Fields with playmakers after doing little last offseason. The spring will bring other chances to build that foundation.
The final four weeks of this season are for showing promise to springboard into 2023. Thus far, the Bears have seen little return on their investment in Claypool. With Darnell Mooney out with injury, the wideout should get plenty of chances to turn the corner.