Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney tops analyst’s list of underpaid teammates

Darnell Mooney has been a pleasant surprise with the Chicago Bears

One analyst believes a third-year wide receiver is the Chicago Bears’ most underpaid player. Darnell Mooney is entering his third season with the Bears. So far, he has made a big impact in an otherwise pedestrian receiving room.

In two seasons, Mooney has reached the endzone 8 times receiving and 1-time rushing. Mooney took a big step forward in 2021, beating out all wide receivers in receiving yards with 1,055-yards. Allen Robinson, who was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers in the offseason, was not on pace to surpass the 2020 fifth-round selection, Mooney, if he had played all 17 games.

Gene Chamberlain, writing for Sports Illustrated, thinks Mooney is a great bargain for the Bears. He listed Mooney as the Bears’ number one underpaid player. Here’s what Chamberlain wrote:

Money should come Mooney’s way from the league bonus pool for exceptional play. This doesn’t come from the Bears’ cap space. Mooney couldn’t be a bigger steal considering he makes only $965,512 this year and has 142 catches the last two seasons, more than any receiver the Bears ever drafted in his first two years. The only receivers from the 2020 draft class with more receptionns in their first two seasons are Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb, and Mooney was a fifth-round pick. That’s the reason he’s getting less than a million and is the No. 1 Bears bargain in 2022.

The fifth-round price value for Darnell Mooney is hard to beat for the Bears

Considering Robinson signed a 46.5-million dollar contract this offseason, I’d certainly say Mooney was a heist in the 2020 draft. Especially since Mooney eclipsed him in productivity last season. While former Bears general manager Ryan Pace made a lot of dumb draft picks, he occasionally hit on a few later-round gems like Mooney. Jefferson and Lamb, who Chamberlain mentioned in his article, are both first-round wide receivers. Jefferson’s contract is just north of $13-million, while Lamb is over $14-million, per Over The Cap.

The Bears need to make the most out of Mooney while he’s on his rookie contract. Justin Field’s will be in his second season with Mooney, and hopefully, we’ll see the pair be even better together this year. Mooney will be expected to have a greater role in the offense, given the Bears still lack elite talent at the wide receiver position.

If Mooney can improve this season and morph into a true number one receiver, he will deserve a lot more money after the 2023 season. This would also ease some pressure off of new general manager Ryan Poles, who has yet to sign a major player at the position due to a lack of cap space.

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