After another underwhelming season for the Chicago Bears, fans will look ahead toward the offseason, where the team will look to make various upgrades through free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft.
While most of the discussion has been about Justin Fields and the No. 1 overall pick, the Bears have some interesting free-agent decisions to make when the new league year opens up in March.
The Bears have 14 unrestricted free agents this offseason, headlined by cornerback Jaylon Johnson and wide receiver Darnell Mooney. If Chicago loses either of those guys, fans would not be happy as the team made strides in the second half of the 2023 season despite a slow start.
Nonetheless, we’ll discuss those two players and more as the Bears are in a unique position this offseason.
1. Darnell Mooney
Mooney started his Bears career on fire, producing 61 receptions (98 targets) for 631 yards and four touchdowns.
After an impressive rookie season, the 5-foot-11 wideout had a fantastic sophomore campaign in 2021 with 81 receptions (140 targets) for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns.
However, over the last two seasons, Mooney hasn’t been able to duplicate what he did in his first two years in the NFL, which could prompt Bears GM Ryan Poles to move on from him.
It would be bittersweet to see Mooney leave the Windy City as he outplayed his draft position (fifth round) and looked like a borderline WR1/WR2.
But with the addition of D.J. Moore this season, Mooney couldn’t capitalize on the one-on-one matchups and big play opportunities afforded to him. The former Tulane wide receiver had a career-low 31 receptions for 414 yards and a touchdown in 15 games this season.
Nonetheless, there’s a chance the Bears bring back Mooney this offseason, as he might not have a huge market in free agency.
However, there are other receivers in free agency, such as Tyler Boyd, Curtis Samuel, Marquise Brown, etc, that Chicago could go after to pair with Moore. Or the Bears could address wide receiver in the NFL Draft, which is a strong possibility as they have two picks in the first round.