Jacksonville Jaguars have depth to overcome WR DJ Chark’s injury

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) /

As if the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 24-21 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals wasn’t bad enough, fourth-year wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. could miss a significant amount of time after hurting his ankle on Thursday Night Football.

The 2018 second-round pick suffered a foot injury and had to be carted off the field. He was then listed as questionable but never returned to the game. Not long after, Ian Rapaport of NFL Media reported that he had suffered an ankle fracture and added that he would be out indefinitely. After the game, head coach Urban Meyer had a sitdown with the local media and confirmed the wide receiver had a broken ankle. He also noted that right guard A.J. Cann sustained a knee injury. Here’s the skinny on Chark.

"A tough one. I don’t know the extent, I heard it’s a pretty broken ankle. And he’s starting to play well and that’s good. That’s a big one and then A.J. Cann. We don’t know the extent but that’s MCL, and we’re not sure the extent to the knee injury."

This is devasting news for Chark, who is in the last year of his contract year and is set to become a free agent in 2022. While he might return this season, there’s a chance he may not play another down. Last season, the LSU product hauled in 53 yards for 706 yards and five touchdowns. But he made the Pro Bowl the season before on the strength of 73 catches for 1,008 yards. In 2021, he had caught seven passes for 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have in-house replacements for DJ Chark.

As devastating as Chark’s injury is, lesions are an inherent part of the sport and teams have to be prepared for any potential contingencies. The former Tiger was the team’s best wideout but they have enough depth to lessen his absence. Marvin Jones Jr. will now become the de facto number one option in the passing game. Sophomore Laviska Shenault Jr. will most likely see an increase in targets as well. However, they might not be the only ones that will see their number of targets go up.

The Jags claimed Tyron Johnson off waivers before the start of the regular season. The former Los Angeles Charger has only seen two targets his way and has played a measly 18 offensive snaps this season but that number could go up with Chark out of the picture. Also, the team’s brass could promote Laquon Treadwell, Devin Smith, or Jeff Cotton Jr. from the practice squad. They could also bring back veteran Phillip Dorsett, whom they released after Week 3.

Moreover, the Jaguars just traded for tight end Dan Arnold, who had two catches and 29 receptions in Week 4. The coaching staff tried to bring him up to speed before the game, he could have an even bigger role against the Tennesse Titans in Week 5 since the team will have more days to prepare. The Jaguars will surely explore the possibility of trading for a wide receiver and they could get one before the tradeline if Chark’s injury turns out to be serious. However, don’t expect them to target someone like Michael Thomas.

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to do a lot of soul-searching ahead of Week 5, and they will have to do it without Chark. For the time being, they have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Next. Specialist Jamal Agnew playing at historic level. dark