5 free agents the Detroit Lions should be glad they didn’t sign

Credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images /
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Credit: The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports /

1. WR Christian Kirk (Jacksonville Jaguars–four years, $72 million)

The Lions and Kirk were easy to match in free agency, and they reportedly had interest in him as they narrowed in on some wide receiver options. But the price went pretty high.

Kirk was easily overlooked in Arizona for four seasons, and his production was up-and-down. But he had his best season in 2021 (77 receptions for 982 yards, five touchdowns), and the market for his services in free agency showed plenty of belief around the league in his potential to thrive in a bigger role.

Amid their free agency spending spree the Jaguars trumped everyone else who had rumored interest in Kirk, including some good teams, and paid him like a No. 1 receiver for quarterback Trevor Lawrence. A residual of that move was leaving Chark for another team (ultimately the Lions of course) to potentially sign away from them at a value. And unlike Kirk, whatever the broader circumstance on their old team was, Chark has a 1,000-yard season on his resume.

Detroit pivoted off Kirk when the price of poker got too rich for them, and landed Chark on a prove-it deal that fit their budget and outlook far better. No one will begrudge Kirk for taking that contract, but when it came down to it the Lions gladly didn’t compete on that level with an offer of their own.

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