Even though this will be wide receiver Christian Kirk’s first year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he will be under pressure right away to perform due to the four-year contract worth $72 million he signed in free agency. In fact, Josh Edwards of CBS Sports thinks the former Texas A&M Auggie must make a positive impression in training camp.
Edwards compiled a list of veterans that must have a strong training camp and he included Kirk precisely because of the deal he got from the Jags earlier this year.
"Jacksonville and Kirk were hot topics this offseason, as the Jaguars extended a very lucrative contract offer to the ex-Cardinal. The deal makes Kirk the 16th highest paid wide receiver in terms of average annual salary, which places him ahead of Mike Evans and Tyler Lockett to name a few. The contract was agreed upon by both parties but it immediately placed a lot of pressure on Kirk to live up to lofty expectations.The Texas A&M output is coming off his best season to date but has not delivered a 1,000-yard receiving season in his four NFL seasons. best season to date but has not delivered a 1,000 receiving yard season in his four NFL seasons."
Edward later notes that Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. could have appeared on the list and goes on to say that he might be a potential trade candidate if “he remains a misfit for new head coach Doug Pederson“. Players that did land on the list include quarterback Baker Mayfield (Carolina Panthers), wide receiver Mecole Hardman (Chiefs), wide receiver Preston Williams (running back), offensive tackle Mekhi Becton (New York Jets), cornerback Jeff Okudah (Detroit Lions) and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos).
Jaguars knew what they were getting in WR Christian Kirk
There’s no doubt Kirk is under pressure to perform in 2022. The Jaguars gave him a top-market deal because they expect him to build off his performance last year. And if the fifth-year pro can have over 1,000 receiving yards and score somewhere between six and nine touchdowns, he will have been worth the price tag.
Having said that, training camp won’t offer much in terms of how big an impact Kirk will have this upcoming season. Unless he performs extremely poorly, the Jaguars might have to wait until the start of the regular season to truly assess the kind of impact he will have on offense.
Keep in mind that Kirk isn’t a one-year wonder, and has instead gotten better over the last three years, which is why he will probably see an uptick in production in 2022, at least that’s what the team’s brass projects.
You may or may not like the amount the Jaguars paid Kirk in free agency but if he lives up to the “lofty expectations”, nobody will be able to keep second-guessing the decision.