Rich WR Market Should Expedite Bears’ Extension for DJ Moore

With every receiver contract besting the last, the Bears must consider locking down their star wideout - before the decision is made for them.
May 23, 2024; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) speaks during organized team activities at Halas Hall Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2024; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) speaks during organized team activities at Halas Hall Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After signing the richest deal for a non-quarterback in NFL history, Minnesota Vikings superstar receiver Justin Jefferson took to Instagram.

“This is the start of it, but we ain't done yet," Jefferson said in a video. “Just wait.”

Well put! It is also the exact phrasing I would use towards any team who has not locked up their star receiver this offseason – whether their contract is expiring this season or next. For Chicago, DJ Moore’s contract is not expiring, but his price is rising.

Jefferson is not solely to blame for the current bull market on wideouts. Eight different receivers signed contracts with an average annual value over $20 million. Since the Super Bowl, 15 different receivers have signed extensions with a total value of over $800 million. Factor in free agent signing, that number creeps over a billion.

Our most recent record setting deal also comes less than a week after Jaylen Waddle, a 2021 draftee on one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL, signed his first extension that will pay him $84.75 million over three years. Noticeably, he’s also coming off his worst season, just cracking 1,000 yards and totaling four touchdowns while battling injury issues.

This is not a comparison made to denigrate Waddle – a bright young star in his own right – but to highlight the imperative that Moore’s contract should be. Coming off of his best statistical season (96 receptions, 1,364 yards, 8 touchdowns) the six-year veteran could be walking into the best quarterback situation of his life.

Moore has had 10 different starters between Carolina and Chicago: mummified Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Tyson Bagent, and Justin Fields. There’s a genuine argument that Fields and Bagent were the two of the three signal most equipped to get Moore the ball. With that inspiring cast of characters, Moore’s 6,565 career yards and recent season highs look even shinier.

In 2022, the 27-year-old signed a 3-year, $61.884 million dollar extension in Carolina. Given it began last year, the Bears are fortunate to have at least two years of apex production left to ease prospective savior Caleb Williams into the league.

That said, proactivity is crucial. A Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Adunze trio powering your offense next to Williams could reasonably take the league by storm. Devil’s advocate enters the room. In a more sober view, Allen is 32 with an injury history, Adunze has zero career catches, and Williams only current contributions to Chicago sports lore have been off the field. GM Ryan Poles worked hard to construct a roster of fascinating hypotheticals, but Moore is a certainty (and a rising actor!)

It's worth pointing out that, in an age where wide receiver diva-ship is widely practiced, Moore has been a professional. In the midst of last year’s tumult and constant QB speculation, he performed well and stood behind his QB. After his trade, he accepted that business is business –  and has turned to a full-throated support of their new captain.

“You can see that the natural leadership is there,” Moore said during OTAs. “The natural arm talent is there. Everything about him, it’s just always a positive thing. Even when he has a bad play, he’s looking to learn real fast right after. That’s all you can ask of him, for him to quickly forget but also learn at the same time.”

Chicago looks to be entering a new, more offensively spectacular era of Bears football. Moore is integral to every aspect of that – on and off the field. Lock him up for the long haul. Every moment of leadership, electrifying highlight, and competing contract will only make it harder.

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