Despite not playing this weekend, the Chicago Bears made headlines with rumors that an extension is in the works for wide receiver Darnell Mooney. Mooney, along with the entire Bears offense, has had a disappointing start to the season. But in his three NFL seasons, he’s proven to be a talented and valuable player. Even though the Bears aren’t allowed to sign Mooney to an extension until after this season, it’s never too early to ask: What does a potential Darnell Mooney extension look like?
To project a possible Mooney extension, it’s a good idea to look at extensions recently signed by young receivers. Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, and D.J. Moore all re-upped with their teams this past offseason, while A.J. Brown was traded to the Eagles and promptly signed a new deal. All 4 players signed deals in the $20 million/year range that last 3 or 4 years. However, all of those players were arguably more proven at the time of their extensions than Mooney is now. This is especially true after Mooney’s slow start to the season, and it could lead to the Bears getting a slight discount. Perhaps the best template for a Mooney deal would be the deal Christian Kirk signed this offseason, which basically amounted to 3 years, $18 million/year with incentives. A deal that follows a similar layout could prove beneficial for both sides.
Overall, signing Darnell Mooney to a long-term extension should be one of the Bears’ top priorities this offseason. A shorter deal that follows a similar structure to recent deals can be good for both sides, and the sooner the team locks in its number one receiver, the better.