Darnell Mooney Free Agency Predictions: Landing Spots Include Texans, 49ers, and Bengals

Darnell Mooney is bound for a new NFL home for the first time in his career. Who are some of the best suitors for the Bears wide receiver?

Darnell Mooney is among a list of star-studded wide receiver options for the 2024 NFL free agency class.

While he may not be expected to command the attention Tee Higgins, Mike Evans, or Michael Pittman Jr. are anticipated to receive, the Chicago Bears wideout should have plenty of suitors in front of him. We take a look at some potential landing spots for the soon-to-be fifth-year wideout.

Darnell Mooney Free Agency Landing Spots

Mooney, again, is nowhere near the top of the ’24 class of free agent wide receivers as the aforementioned Higgins, Evans, and Pittman all help compile the top five.

But Mooney is just outside the top five as PFN’s No. 6 ranked free agent WR.

Not long ago, Mooney emerged as an 80-catch and 1,000-yard threat for the Bears. He collected 81 passes for 1,055 yards in 2021, which was in his second season in the league.

Since then, Mooney has struggled with staying healthy and finding his fit in a struggling Bears offense. He’s had to endure knee ailments and an ankle ligament issue the past two seasons.

Furthermore, Mooney also had to navigate through a questionable attack installed by Luke Getsy. With Getsy as offensive coordinator, Mooney only caught a combined 71 catches in the last two seasons and never surpassed 500 receiving yards.

Still, in the right offense, Mooney is capable of thriving. He’s still a top-50 overall free agent by PFN, coming in at No. 44. The 26-year-old WR is expected to draw some interest this spring.

Texans Present Opportunity To Reunite With Coach Who Got the Best From Mooney

Mooney’s breakout in 2021 was with Bill Lazor as his offensive coordinator.

Lazor has since moved into a senior offensive assistant role with the Houston Texans. But perhaps Lazor can give a ringing endorsement to head coach DeMeco Ryans and the front office to lure in Mooney.

Even with Nico Collins emerging into a 1,000-yard wideout and Tank Dell adding his explosiveness before his season-ending leg injury, the Texans are likely going to become unhesitant to build around Rookie of the Year passer C.J. Stroud.

Mooney’s speed is perfect for offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik’s attack that calls for quickness from his WRs and guys who can separate from their defenders.

49ers Considered a Place To Watch for Mooney

The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers could be one place where some serious offensive dominoes fall, particularly if Brandon Aiyuk gets moved as a trade possibility.

Even if Aiyuk stays, the 49ers will still need to address the wideout room. Third-rounder Danny Gray has only caught one pass since his arrival to the league in 2022 and has been considered a disappointment among several 49ers fans.

Return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud is a free agent. Even Jauan Jennings, who bailed out the Niners often on third downs, is a restricted free agent.

Mooney could welcome the 49ers’ zone-heavy approach that calls for motions and attacking downfield with play action. He could witness a career rejuvenation by teaming with Brock Purdy and suiting up in Shanahan’s offense.

Bengals Could Be WR-Needy and Offer a Place for Mooney

Finally, we get into teams facing the potential of becoming WR-needy. The Queen City is that place.

It’s one thing for the Bengals to face the possibility of losing Higgins. But their WR3, Tyler Boyd, is also likely to field some free agency offers.

MORE: 2024 NFL Free Agency Predictions

Head coach Zac Taylor will need to find some help for Ja’Marr Chase if both drift away. Taylor has to have some sort of contingency plan in case Higgins and Boyd sign elsewhere, which has a high probability of happening. Mooney would be considered a strong and not-too-expensive addition who can attack deep next to Chase.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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