Jaguars ‘checked off all boxes’ for WR Christian Kirk in free agency

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Money isn’t the sole reason players either change teams or remain in place. Other factors, such as fit and culture play a role but the size of the contract a big role, so Zay Jones is probably telling the truth when he said his heart led him to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars but getting a three-year worth $24 million probably helped. Similarly, Christian Kirk says that money wasn’t the main reason to sign with the Jags even though he got a four-year $72 million deal.

Kirk recently appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and was asked what brought him to Jacksonville and he mentioned the opportunity to play with Lawrence, the presence of Pederson, and the chance to be a primary target as big draws.

"Number one is [the] opportunity to play with a quarterback like Trevor, who is a young player with a ton of potential and a ton of talent. He’s shown flashes that he can be one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, and like I mentioned, playing under Coach Peterson, but also the opportunity to be a primary target on that offense and just have a primary role and be able to keep going out there and competing. And so, all of it for fit-wise and what I was looking for it just kind of checked off all the boxes for me."

Kirk also told host Rich Eisen that returning to the Arizona Cardinals was a possibility and leaving them was tough since it was dream come true to play for his hometown team. In fact, he says that the Cards’ facilities were four or five minutes away from the high school he attended but ultimately, signing with the Jaguars was a no-brainer. Here’s the whole exchange in which Kirk discusses quarterback Kyler Murray, Doug Pederson’s affinity for ice cream, and his Instagram account.

Christian Kirk should help Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawerence in 2022.

One of the reasons Christian Kirk’s signing got so much negative press is that the Jaguars paid him as if he were an elite receiver when he’s never topped 1,000 yards. While there’s no doubt that general manager Trent Baalke paid a premium for the 2018 second-round pick, he has the potential to make an immediate impact on offense.

In his first three NFL seasons, Kirk had a combined 159 receptions for 159 yards. However, he caught 77 receptions for 982 yards in 2021. One big reason for his surge in production is that the Cardinals’ coaching staff realized he was a better fit in the slot, where he played 79 percent of his snaps last season. If he has a similar role in Jacksonville, he should have no trouble registering the first 1,000-yard season of his career.

The Jaguars needed to get Trevor Lawrence weapons this offseason and that’s precisely what they did in free agency when they signed Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency. If they produce at a high level and help their quarterback make a leap in Year 2, the size of their contracts won’t be seen in such a negative light.

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