Falcons, WR Darnell Mooney Agree To Deal

The Falcons have a deal in place for a new quarterback, and the team is now set to add to its receiving corps. Atlanta has agreed to a deal with Darnell Mooney, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

Mooney will head to Atlanta on a three-year pact, per Rapoport. The deep threat will receive $39MM on the deal, including $26MM fully guaranteed. Expectations will therefore by high for him as a starting member of the Falcons’ pass-catching corps.

This year’s receiver market did not include Mike Evans or the franchise-tagged duo of Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. While Pittman has since signed a Colts extension, Indianapolis took him off the FA board last week via the tag. Mooney is among the players to benefit from bigger names being unavailable. He soared well off the “prove it” tier, despite back-to-back seasons with fewer than 500 receiving yards.

Tuesday’s move will reunite Mooney with former Bears GM Ryan Pace, who resides in the Falcons’ front office. Pace drafted Mooney in the 2020 fifth round, after he had clocked a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. While the Tulane alum struggled in Luke Getsy‘s offense, he was better under Matt Nagy. Mooney’s two best receiving seasons — including a 1,055-yard showing in 2021 — came during the Pace-Nagy years. Nagy’s current team, the Chiefs, pursued Mooney as well. But the Falcons, despite authorizing a monster Kirk Cousins contract, will win this derby.

Mooney, who is going into his age-26 season, will be set to join Drake London and Kyle Pitts as Atlanta pass-game pillars. The Falcons have taken some heat for their top-10 skill-position investments’ early inconsistency. While the team is betting on Cousins to stabilize its passing attack, it still viewed the WR2 role as an area to upgrade. The Falcons had Mack Hollins in place in that role last year; he finished with 251 receiving yards.

Although more proven receiving options existed on the market compared to Mooney, the Falcons will bet on upside. Mooney, who memorably dropped a Hail Mary pass that would have given Chicago a win in Cleveland last season, will be among the many UFAs to benefit from the recent cap spike. The Bears remain in search of a No. 2 wideout opposite D.J. Moore. While the team has since extended its other two regular starters from the 2020 draft (Jaylon Johnson, Cole Kmet), Mooney needed to land his money elsewhere.

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