Titans and NFL Free Agency: Evaluating the Advantages and Disadvantages of Acquiring Wide Receiver Darnell Mooney

NASHVILLE — When NFL teams look for free-agent wide receivers next week, they may discover a limited selection. However, Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon might explore a cost-effective option in Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney.

The Titans aim to bolster their wide receiver group, especially after relying heavily on DeAndre Hopkins in 2023. Additionally, second-year quarterback Will Levis requires dependable targets to optimize his potential.

Negotiations with players can begin on March 11, marking the start of the NFL’s legal tampering period. Teams can officially sign free agents on March 13.

Three top wide receivers have already been taken off the market: Mike Evans renewed his contract with Tampa Bay, while Tee Higgins of Cincinnati and Michael Pittman of Indianapolis received franchise tags. Calvin Ridley and Marquise Brown have been discussed as potential options on AllTitans.com, so let’s delve into Mooney.

Here are some highlights from his career:

– Holds the record for most receptions (142) by a Bears wide receiver in their first two seasons.
– In 2021, he led the team with 1,055 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.

Now, let’s consider the arguments:

Against signing Mooney:

Mooney experienced his least productive season at a critical juncture, recording career-lows in catches (31), yards (414), and touchdowns (one). His PFF grade of 55.2 ranked 107th out of 128 eligible NFL receivers. His decline in performance since his breakout 2021 season is partly attributed to the quarterback instability within the franchise. Moreover, he has battled multiple injuries, including an ankle injury that hampered his speed last season.

In favor of signing Mooney:

If Mooney is in top condition, he presents a dynamic threat capable of outmatching cornerbacks on the boundary. Assuming his health, he could serve as an excellent deep threat. At 27, there’s still potential for him to excel further. Additionally, Mooney shares a prior connection with the Titans’ new receivers coach, Tyke Tolbert.

PFF projects Mooney to sign a one-year deal worth $9 million. A motivated Mooney on a prove-it deal could benefit both parties. Acquiring Mooney might also allow the Titans to focus on selecting an offensive lineman like Joe Alt with the No.7 pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

If Tolbert believes he can help Mooney return to his 2021 form, it could be a significant gain for the Titans. Otherwise, they should explore alternative options at wide receiver.

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