Jaguars WR Christian Kirk’s inclusion on list of overpaid players not fair

Jaguars WR Christian Kirk (13) throws the ball with quarterback (4) E.J. Perry at TIAA Bank Field Monday, May 23, 2022.Jki 052322 Jaguarsota 32
Jaguars WR Christian Kirk (13) throws the ball with quarterback (4) E.J. Perry at TIAA Bank Field Monday, May 23, 2022.Jki 052322 Jaguarsota 32 /

The Jacksonville Jaguars knew they would need to fork out a serious amount of cash if they wanted to land premier players in free agency. One of their biggest signings was former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, who got a four-year, $72 million contract. The deal has been the subject of criticism and it has recently earned him an appearance on a list of overpaid players.

Ian Wharton recently made a list of players whose compensation isn’t on par with their production and Kirk popped up. Wharton describes the wide receiver as a ‘fine player’ that will help the Jags’ offense score more points in 2022. However, he thinks he will have a hard time living up to expectations.

"Kirk is a fine player who will help the Jaguars’ woeful offense, but it’ll be nearly impossible for him to live up to his salary based on his past performances. He’s the only receiver in the top 20 salaries at the position who has not reached 1,000 yards in one season. Kirk’s ability to get open and convert first owns should help second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence more success. It’s simply hard to get over the salary he’ll earn, which is guaranteed for two seasons."

Kirk came close to the 1,000-yard milestone in 2021, catching 77 passes for 982 yards and five receiving touchdowns. He also earned a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 72.7, a career-best.

The Jaguars and WR Christian Kirk will help each other be better

Christian’s Kirk deal seemed sort of excessive at the time. After all, he hasn’t posted a 1,000-yard season. Nevertheless, salaries have gone up since he joined the Jaguars and they will continue to get higher in the upcoming years. Also, Jacksonville is paying him for what he will do in the future, not his past accomplishments.

Looking back, you could make the case that Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke got ahead of the market and signed Kirk before compensation for wide receivers increased. Since Kirk got his deal, Terry McLaurin (Washington Commanders) and Hunter Renfrow (Las Vegas Raiders) have gone on to sign even richer contracts.

Back when Kirk joined the Jags, executives around the league weren’t thrilled about the bump in salaries but you can’t blame him for getting the best possible deal he could get his hands on. If a club isn’t able to secure a player, they should point the finger at themselves, not someone else.

Of course, Kirk has to take the football field and become the playmaker the Jaguars think he is. If he ends up becoming a dynamic presence and gives their offense a boost, you won’t hear complaints about him getting overpaid. In fact,  Jacksonville was willing to give him a four-year deal, so you could say that they’re pleased with their investment. It’s now a matter of living up to it.

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