Bears WR Darnell Mooney Sends Bold Message to Rest of NFL

Fields, Mooney, Bears

Getty Quarterback Justin Fields (left) and wide receiver Darnell Mooney (right) of the Chicago Bears celebrate a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in November 2022.

The Chicago Bears are in the midst of building a winning culture and the rhetoric emanating from the team’s most prominent members is coming to reflect that.

Among the best examples is wide receiver Darnell Mooney and the comments he made during an interview with the St. Brown Brothers’ podcast via 33rd Team on Thursday, May 18.

The St. Browns asked Mooney about his goals for the 2023 season, to which the wideout provided a matter-of-fact answer.

“Ball out, of course. Dominate,” Mooney said. “Not really on the ‘respect my name’ anymore. I’m just disrespecting everybody now. I don’t really care about respect no more. Other than that, I just want to win. I don’t really care about anything else, for real.”

Darnell Mooney Eligible for Contract Extension With Bears

Darnell Mooney, Bears

GettyWide receiver Darnell Mooney of the Chicago Bears celebrates after catching a touchdown during a game against the Atlanta Falcons in November 2022.

Mooney’s lack of concern for anything that isn’t winning apparently also extends to his contract situation. He is entering the fourth season of a four-year rookie deal worth $3.6 million in total, after which he will be an unrestricted free agent. He became extension eligible with Chicago this offseason.

According to Spotrac, Mooney’s market value currently stands at $14.9 million annually over a four-year deal. That number reads a bit high, especially after the Bears acquired wide receiver D.J. Moore in a trade this offseason, who will make north of $20 million per year over the next three campaigns.

Chicago also traded for wideout Chase Claypool ahead of the 2022 deadline. The former Pittsburgh Steelers pass-catcher is entering his fourth NFL season and is eligible for an extension as well. The Bears may have to decide between locking in Mooney or Claypool long-term, unless each is willing to take a little less than what they could potentially make elsewhere.

The St. Brown brothers asked Mooney about his contract situation on Thursday. Mooney responded by saying simply that he “isn’t in a rush” to get a deal done.

Darnell Mooney had Down Season in 2022 Due to Ankle Injury

Darnell Mooney

GettyWide receiver Darnell Mooney of the Chicago Bears runs off the field after a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks in August 2022.

Mooney’s wait-and-see approach is probably the correct one, as his value is lower now than it has been in some time.

After a 2021 season that saw Mooney rack up 1,055 yards and four touchdowns on 81 catches, the wideout took a step back last year. He caught just 40 balls for 493 yards and two scores in 12 games played, per Pro Football Reference.

Part of Mooney’s issue was health, after he sustained a season-ending ankle injury against the New York Jets in late November. Chicago wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert told Courtney Cronin of ESPN on May 6 that the team is hopeful Mooney will be ready to go by the time training camp rolls around in late July.

“He’s great with his rehab. He’s running right now. He’s doing well,” Tolbert said. “His attitude has been great. He’s in here every single day.”

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