Former Jaguars WR DJ Chark believes Lions were the right fit
After four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. became a free agent and signed a one-year with the Detroit Lions. Speaking to the Detroit media, the former LSU Tiger said he was offered several multiple multi-year deals but they weren’t the right fit. He added that he appreciates the culture the current regime is trying to instill, via Jeff Risdon of Yahoo Sports.
"I appreciated the hustle, the grit, and the way that they persevered, and went from tying games to winning games, and playing better. I truly appreciate the way this staff kept that team together and have faith in those guys. I know that means a lot to them and I’m ready to be a part of it. I feel like it’s definitely a different feel than what I’ve been experiencing."
The Lions weren’t much better than the Jaguars in 2021, finishing 3-13-1. However, they played hard for head coach Dan Campbell and got better once he took away playcalling duties from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn following their Week 10 16-16 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chark will join a wide receiver corps that includes rookie sensation Amon-Ra St. Brown, who hauled in 90 receptions for 912 yards with five touchdowns last season.
A second-round pick by the Jaguars in 2018, Chark made the Pro Bowl in 2019 after catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards with eight touchdowns. However, his production (and everybody’s) took a hit the following season due to the inconsistency at quarterback. Last year, he was averaging 22 yards per reception before he suffered an ankle injury in Week 4. He finished the 2021 campaign with seven catches for 154 yards with two touchdowns.
The Jaguars moved on from DJ Chark but made additions to the offense.
Once the Jaguars applied the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson, the chances of bringing back Chark went down. The fact that he was coming off a season-ending injury might have complicated negotiations. However, re-signing the wide receiver seemed like a realistic possibility, and even head coach Doug Pederson said he wanted him back.
In the end, free agency started and there were no signs the Jags were going to bring back Chark. Nevertheless, they went on to make several moves that showed they were committed to getting a better supporting cast. Besides tagging Robinson, they added Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff to their offensive line. They also signed wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones and got tight end Evan Engram.
Leading an NFL team means making tough decisions and that includes moving on from certain players. The Jaguars ultimately believed that moving on from Chark was in their best interest. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. Simply, he was no longer a fit in Jacksonville. On the bright side, he believes he’s landed in the right place with the Lions.