The Chicago Bears released their final injury report for Week 17 yesterday. Some good news is that Teven Jenkins has cleared concussion protocols and looks good to play vs. the Falcons on Sunday. D.J. Moore never made it on the injury report despite dealing with an ankle injury last week against the Cardinals. Lucas Patrick did not practice and was a limited participant all week. He is listed as questionable. Cole Kmet is also questionable as he continues to deal with a knee injury that he sustained in Week 16. As of now, only Darnell Mooney is listed as out as he suffers from a concussion.
The problem is, if Mooney's concussion symptoms linger, he could miss more than just Week 17. Mooney self-reported his symptoms on Monday and was unable to practice all week. We constantly see players struggle to pass concussion tests for more than just one week. Concussion symptoms can linger for quite some time and he could potentially miss Week 18 against the Packers too. I can definitely see this happening if the Chicago Bears are officially eliminated from the playoffs this week.
Could Darnell Mooney have played his final game with the Chicago Bears?
Darnell Mooney has struggled this season. This is not the year to underperform though as Mooney is in the final year of his rookie contract. Prior to the season starting, most of us thought Mooney and Chase Claypool would be competing for a new contract with Chicago. Claypool was traded to the Miami Dolphins before the trade deadline and Mooney has looked like a shell of himself. Despite being here for nearly a full season, Mooney and Claypool actually are tied with only one touchdown each.
2023 was worse for Mooney than 2022 and both were not great performances for the fifth-round draft pick. Mooney was coming off back-to-back seasons with four touchdowns. He had 631 yards on 61 catches in his rookie year. He backed that up the next year with 1,055 yards and 81 catches. Then, his 2022 season saw a massive dip in targets and catches. He had 61 targets in 12 games and caught 40 of them for 493 yards. This year, he's seen the same number of targets as last year (61) but only caught 31 of them for 414 yards. His catch rate is just over 50%.
These numbers are not good enough to give Mooney a new contract. Especially with the other receivers potentially hitting the open free agency market in 2024. Those names include Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Jr., Curtis Samuel, Tyler Boyd, Calvin Ridley, Tee Higgins, and Michael Pittman, Jr. Obviously, many of these receivers could see the franchise tag, but Chicago could add a receiver in the 2024 NFL Draft (another strong class) and in free agency.
There's probably no room for Darnell Mooney in 2024 and if he doesn't play Week 18 we will have seen his last game in a Bears uniform. A game where he caught two of four balls for only five yards. Yikes.