DJ Chark may find a bigger role and more money elsewhere in free agency, and he’s been put high on a list of options for one of the best teams in the AFC.
DJ Chark’s first, and perhaps only season, as a Detroit Lion will broadly go down as a disappointment. His emergence late in the season was notable, but 30 catches for just over 500 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games was not one anyone hoped for last March.
Chark is now a free agent, and he has joined the parade of those who want to re-sign with the Lions. But he has also acknowledged the business side of it, and a shallow market for free agent wide receivers may drive his price upward.
When healthy, Chark showed what can be late this season. His 2019 Pro Bowl season with the Jacksonville Jaguars seems longer ago than that, but he also won’t turn 27 until early next season (Sept. 26).
NFL free agency rumors: DJ Chark named potential target for top AFC team
Matt Parrino of New York Upstate.com put together a list of seven free agent wide receivers the Buffalo Bills could target. The idea is bringing in someone to push, or even overtake, Gabriel Davis as the No. 2 wide receiver after Stefon Diggs. A consistent WR2 has been a problem for the Bills.
While the list is not strictly deemed to be a ranking, Chark is first on Parrino’s list.
"1. D.J. Chark, Detroit LionsEstimated contract: 3 years/ $28.7 million (market value estimate from Spotrac.com)Chark has high-end speed – he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine in 2018 – and that’s something the Bills are missing on the outside opposite Diggs….The Chark move is a big swing for a Bills team that has to have one eye on the future…… Chark can play multiple spots and with Diggs he’ll play opposite the most established receiver he’s played with in his career."
The rest of the list–Mecole Hardman, Jakobi Meyers, Parris Campbell, Marvin Jones, Nelson Agholor, Marquise Goodwin–is a sampling of the free agent wide receiver market. Chark has an argument for the No. 1 spot among that set of seven.
Where the Lions stand on re-signing Chark is not clear. But with an eye on getting more from a fully healthy Jameson Williams next season, they could be priced out of Chark’s market quickly.