DJ Chark is one of the Detroit Lions’ notable free agents, but one of these five teams could definitely sign him away.
Coming off an ankle injury early in the 2021 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, wide receiver DJ Chark signed a one-year “prove-it” deal with the Detroit Lions. For a big chunk of the season, things did not go as planned.
Chark and Jared Goff struggled to connect early this season. Then Chark aggravated his previous ankle injury, and he missed six games. He returned to heavy snaps shares in Week 11 and Week 12, but production was still slow.
Then from Week 13, something clicked for Chark. His ankle was surely in better shape, and the connection with Goff improved. He topped 90 yards in three of four games from Week 13-16, and from Week 13-17 he averaged 20.8 yards per catch.
Chark didn’t have a huge game in Week 18 against the Green Bay Packers, but two of his three catches converted first downs on critical fourth downs in the final quarter. So all in all, his finish to the season showed he can be what the Lions envisioned he would be when they signed him.
Chark joined the parade of Lions’ free agents who’ve said they want to be back with the team. It’s unclear if the feeling is mutual, or if the Lions think Jameson Williams can be a seamless in-house replacement for Chark as a deep threat next season.
In any case, beyond contract terms (years and money), better or more clear-cut on-field opportunity may knock for Chark elsewhere in free agency. That would be hard for him to ignore, no matter how bad he wants to remain a Lion.
In particular, the Lions could lose Chark to one of these five teams in free agency.