Darnell Mooney made a major mistake before the Chicago Bears season

Darnell Mooney likely wants a redo on his past decision.

Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney is officially set to become a free agent next week. He is expected to be in the market for a prove-it deal with a team like the Kansas City Chiefs.

Prior to an ankle injury that ended his 2022 season prematurely, Mooney was on a path toward earning a long-term contract extension with the Bears. Mooney was one of the players who was personally praised by team chairman George McCaskey, creating a sense that the former Tulane standout would be in Chicago for a long time.

Mooney, however, struggled in his return from the ankle injury this past season where there were times that he may have been frustrated with his role in the team's offense. Mooney was primarily used as a blocker this past season but the Bears' actions prior to the season may have suggested they had higher ambitions.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that Mooney turned down a three-year contract extension with the Bears prior to the start of last season. The deal would have reportedly paid Mooney more than $10MM per season.

Darnell Mooney will regret the decision he made prior to the Chicago Bears season.

It goes without saying that the Bears avoided a major mistake with Mooney turning down the deal. A three-year deal for Mooney would have been risky. Mooney appeared to still be impacted last season by the ankle surgery he had at the end of the 2022 campaign. While the belief across the NFL is that he will rebound in 2024, it likely will be on a one-year deal.

By holding the ninth overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears are in a position to add a substantial upgrade over Mooney at the wide receiver position. There's a possibility that either Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers will be available when the Bears select with their second first-round pick on draft night in April, both of them have a clear ceiling as primary wide receivers in the NFL. That same ceiling has proven to be false hope for Mooney in his time with the Bears.

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