DJ Chark may leave the Detroit Lions in free agency, and a recent projection has him moving to one of their division rivals.
After a slow start followed by missing six games with an ankle issue, DJ Chark had a nice finish to his first season as a Detroit Lion. He topped 90 yards in three of four games from Week 13-16, he averaged 20.8 yards a catch from Week 13-17 and two of his three catches in Week 18 were clutch 4th down plays.
But in a broad sense, with 30 catches for just over 500 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games, Chark’s 2022 season will go down as a disappointment. His contract, which had two void years tacked on to spread out the cap hit of his signing bonus, has officially voided to make him an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts next month.
Chark has said he wants to re-sign with the Lions. But the business reality points to the idea he could get more on the open market than the Lions may want to pay him. If that’s out there, getting the best deal he can should override any desire to stay in Detroit.
DJ Chark projected to sign with Lions division rival in free agency
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus has taken a shot a projecting landing spots for a few of the top 2023 free agent wide receivers. Chark is among them, with an interesting landing spot.
"DJ Chark, Detroit Lions2023 team prediction: Minnesota VikingsThe Vikings will reportedly work to keep wide receiver Adam Thielen in the fold going forward, but there is no guarantee the two sides work things out, so here we have them finding a replacement in the speedy D.J. Chark Jr.Chark is not quite the route-running technician that Thielen has been over his career, but you can always use 4.34-second 40-yard dash speed with a 6-foot-4 frame. Thielen started to show some signs of aging, as well, in 2022, struggling at times to create short-area separation — which had always been a strong suit for him. With Chark, the Vikings get a downfield threat who can take the top off opposing defenses, clearing room for his former LSU teammate in Justin Jefferson and also taking a playmaker away from the division rival Detroit Lions. Tight end T.J. Hockenson will also have more room to operate over the middle.Over the past four seasons, Chark’s 33 receptions on passes thrown 15-plus yards downfield rank tied for 14th among wide receivers and his 11 touchdown receptions on such passes tie for eighth. This is despite his hardly playing in 2021 due to injury, though injuries have been a bit of a concern during his career."
Spielberger previously mentioned Chark as a possible free agent target for the Vikings, so he’s following all the way through with a prediction/projection here. The Vikings also made our list of teams Chark could leave the Lions for.
Minnesota’s primary issue right now is a lack of cap space, but they are lined up to make some significant moves to clean up their balance sheet. The follow-up question is if they’d pay Chark what his market may bear, apart from any cap concerns they currently have.
And that brings us to the questions with Chark–What kind of deal could he get? And what will interested teams be willing to give him?