Skip to main content

Reports: Chiefs Interested in Darnell Mooney, Curtis Samuel — What Could They Bring to KC?

The Kansas City Chiefs have been linked to free agent wide receivers Darnell Mooney and Curtis Samuel. Could either be a legitimate fit with the Chiefs?

Update: That didn't last long! Wide receiver Darnell Mooney reportedly agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday morning, according to Ian Rapoport. Mooney's new deal is reportedly for three years and $39 million, with $26 million guaranteed, averaging $13 million per year.

As you can read below, that's a bit pricier than we would have advocated the Chiefs matching. Curtis Samuel's status and price point may now be even more relevant. The full original story, published at 10:07 a.m. CT, starts below.

The Kansas City Chiefs stayed relatively quiet through the first day of the NFL's legal tampering period of free agency, with no news at all at the wide receiver position. The Chiefs released wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling at the end of February, and it's no secret that KC will need to retool their receiver group for 2024. On Monday night, the Chiefs were connected to two free agent pass-catchers.

First, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN tweeted that KC was one of multiple teams inquiring about former Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney.

"The Chiefs, among others, remain interested in free agent receiver Darnell Mooney, who had a 1,000-yard season under Chiefs OC Matt Nagy from their days with the Bears," Fowler posted.

Later, Nate Taylor of The Athletic was asked if there was a wide receiver deal in the works. Taylor tweeted, "You might want to start watching film of Darnell Mooney or Curtis Samuel."

Obviously, neither of those tweets are reports of impending signings, but they are the first major notes we've seen go public about the Chiefs' wide receiver interest since the tampering period opened on Monday. How should fans view Mooney and Samuel? Jordan Foote and I take a closer look at these two targets and discuss what it'd take for their fits to make sense in KC.

Jordan Foote: Mooney checks off a lot of boxes for the Chiefs. Not only is he young (doesn't turn 27 until October), but he's a potential vertical passing game option who can operate from the slot and out wide. 2021 was Mooney's most impactful season, when he averaged 13 yards per catch as a sophomore and posted 1.72 yards per route run. If he can tap back into that, he's a very intriguing option. Samuel is a bit older (28 in August) but has been more consistent over the years. Back-to-back seasons with at least 60 catches, 600 yards and four touchdowns is hard to not respect. With that said, he does a lot of his damage from the slot and at or near the line of scrimmage. He's redundant with what Kansas City already has.

Joshua Brisco: That’s the part about Samuel that’s a little bit confusing to me. When we discussed Hollywood Brown yesterday (still available!), his fit as a compliment to Rashee Rice was a major selling point. Mooney makes more sense, but it feels like both fit the Chiefs’ archetype in a way I’m not sure I’d be excited about; they’re both 5-foot-11 receivers who they’d be rescuing from quarterback purgatories with hopes of putting them in better situations in KC. It seems like the Chiefs see value opportunities with players in that mold, but that’s still a risk if you’re landing them for anything less than a relative bargain.

Foote: Speaking of a bargain... What's a good price point here? Major estimates for Mooney's market slot in around $9-10 million per year, for the most part. Is a 3/30 deal too much for him? Does he make more sense on a one-year "prove it" deal? His next team has to consider his youth and upside, but it also has to take into account it's been multiple years since he flashed his real potential. Samuel's market seems trickier to evaluate. Pro Football Focus has him at $8.5M per year and Spotrac is at $11.5M. That's too rich for a type of player the Chiefs have already had in the fold for much cheaper in the very recent past.

Brisco: Especially with the quiet-so-far wide receiver market, I agree, that doesn't feel like great bang for KC's buck. Particularly with Fowler's Mooney tweet, I took his mention of "the Chiefs, among others, remain interested" as agent-speak for "my client is in very high demand, so somebody should hurry up and pay a premium before we sign elsewhere!" Essentially, I'd be telling the Chiefs to stay patient right now. I might be getting the itch to check back in on Brown's asking price, but if Brown or Calvin Ridley aren't the target, there's no reason to rush into signing Samuel or Mooney until (or unless) the money is right.