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Possible Chicago Bears trade candidates

We weren’t expecting to see Darnell Mooney trade rumors today.

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Chicago Bears v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Several trades have gone down the last couple of days around the NFL as teams are scrambling to set their initial 53-man rosters for the 2023 season, but so far, the Chicago Bears have been quiet.

There have been some speculative social media dot-connectors trying to link Chicago with Colts running back Jonathan Taylor and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, but nothing concrete ever popped up on either front.

But earlier today, there was an interesting article from Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger titled Surprise NFL trade, cut candidates ahead of Tuesday’s deadline: Analysis and potential landing spots, and the Bear he mentioned was definitely surprising.

Here’s what Brad wrote.

It would come as a major surprise if the Bears entertained the idea of actually moving on from Darnell Mooney, but it would be less surprising if Mooney was a bit frustrated with the lack of progress in extension conversations to this point in the offseason and was open to a change of scenery. Mooney went from the No. 1 receiving option in 2022 to sharing targets with D.J. Moore and Chase Claypool, and Chicago was a distant dead last in pass attempts, completions and yards last season. While they figure to take a massive leap forward, perhaps Mooney wants more volume in a pivotal contract year.

In Mooney’s best season in 2021, he hauled in 81 receptions for 1,055 yards, with his 29 explosive receptions tied for seventh among wide receivers and his 10 missed tackles forced a top-20 mark. Mooney is a downfield separator who has dealt with anemic passing offenses throughout his NFL career, which is certainly not helping his contract prospects. He appears to be extremely close with quarterback Justin Fields and growth is expected in 2023, but Mooney may not want to wait around to find out without a new contract coming off an ankle injury that prematurely ended his 2022 campaign.

I’ve gotten to know Brad a little over the years, thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter and his appearances in our podcasts and videos, and Brad isn’t in the business of throwing out speculation based on perceived fits around the NFL.

So if he wrote it, there’s something coming from somewhere.

And while trading a receiver with a close connection to Fields seems like a bad locker room move, the business side of things makes this plausible.

Mooney is coming off an injury, he’s in a contract year, and both he and Claypool could be fighting for targets and an extension.

The other Bear that may be a trade candidate was discussed over the weekend when news broke that defensive end Trevis Gipson requested a trade. Our guy Greg Gabriel did a little digging and came up with this.

As for players the Bears could be looking to trade for, the Eagles recently made it known that they are open to shopping defensive end Derek Barnett. And this is 100% speculation on my part — I don’t pretend to have sources — but a Gipson for Bennett swap could make sense for both teams. Former Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai, the man that Gipson played for when he had a career-best seven sacks in 2021, is Philly’s defensive coordinator.

If it were me, I’d keep Gipson around this year, but in reading the tea leaves, it seems he’s not a part of the Bears’ plans.

Update: There’s a rumor out there that Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Dan Feeney (C/G) will be traded to the Bears. Feeney is a six-year veteran who has started 64 games for the Chargers and Jets, but he wasn’t able to push for a starting job in Miami. The Dolphins signed him in March to a one-year, $3.25M deal.

Update 2: It’s happening.

Teams need to hit the 53-man roster limit by 3:00 p.m. (CT) tomorrow, and the Bears have already started making cuts, so keep our tracker locked and loaded for all the latest.