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Chargers could provide underutilized Bears WR with a fresh start

Darnell Mooney is just two seasons removed from a 1,000-yard campaign in Chicago, but D.J. Moore has hurt his production since being signed.

Chicago Bears v Washington Commanders Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Chargers lost Mike Williams during the team’s dramatic win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week Three. Since then, Justin Herbert and the passing game just hasn’t looked the same. It’s also worth mentioning the team is still missing Jalen Guyton, an underrated deep threat who impacted how defenses had to prepare for the Bolts’ passing attack.

First-round rookie Quentin Johnston isn’t up-to-speed enough to make an impact and while Joshua Palmer is solid, he’s another big-bodied possession receiver who doesn’t win deep often. With Williams done for the season, should the Chargers try to add some extra juice to the unit from outside the roster?

In a new piece over at CBS Sports, NFL analyst Cody Benjamin wrote up 15 hypothetical trades that he believes should get done before this year’s trade deadline. One of those trades involved the Chargers trading for current Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney. In this hypothetical, the Bolts would send a fourth-round pick from this upcoming draft in a straight swap for Mooney.

“Mooney is just two years removed from a 1,000-yard campaign as Chicago’s top wideout, but his role has been greatly reduced since D.J. Moore’s arrival, and the ailing Bears are still looking to offset the value they lost in the Chase Claypool trade,” says Benjamin. “L.A., meanwhile, could use another deep threat for Justin Herbert after Mike Williams’ season-ending injury out wide.”

During the 2021 season, Mooney caught a career-high 81 passes for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns. As a rookie in 2020, he caught 61 balls for 631 yards and four touchdowns, as well. Since the start of the 2022 campaign, Mooney has combined for just 50 catches, 645 yards, and three scores.

While now-teammate D.J. Moore did not join the Bears until this season, Mooney’s production had already taken a hit in ‘22 due to poor play from the offense and Justin Fields as a whole.

At 5’11 and 176 pounds, Mooney is definitely not of the usual Chargers receiver archetype. However, maybe that’s exactly what the Chargers need. Mooney ran a 4.38 40 at the 2020 NFL Combine which would push both Jalen Guyton and Derius Davis for fastest receiver in the room. If Guyton remains out indefinitely, Mooney would provide a speed threat that defenses would have to respect not only because of his burners, but because of his proven production in the past. Davis is faster, but he hasn’t done much in the NFL. That’s where Mooney has the edge.

So what do you all think? Would you give up a fourth-round pick for a young wideout with upside? Let us know all of your thoughts below!