Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. signed a one-year deal with the Detriot Lions in free agency, and it looks like he doesn’t miss the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Not long ago, Chark told the Detroit media that there’s a day and night difference between the Jags and the Lions, “it’s no games. It’s not gimmicks. You just come in and do your work”. The wide receiver made similar remarks earlier this year when he signed with Detroit, “It’s bigger than (just one person) here. It’s a team atmosphere”.
Moreover, Chark has had a solid training camp and built chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff. Even though Amon-Ra St. Brown is coming off a promising rookie year and the Lions drafted Jameson Williams, Chark seems to be poised to be the No. 1 receiver in Detroit this upcoming season. It’s also worth noting that Benjamin Allbright of KOA Colorado says the Lions coaching staff “can’t stop raving” about Chark.
A second-round pick by the Jags in 2018, Chark hauled in 73 yards for 1,008 yards with eight touchdowns. However, he dealt with injuries the next two seasons and saw a dip in production. The former LSU Tiger was expected to be Jacksonville’s No. 1 receiver last season but he fractured his ankle in Week 4 and went on to miss the rest of the campaign.
Both the Jaguars and DJ Chark are doing well without each other
Chark made the Pro Bowl nod in 2019 and was one of the last Jaguars players to get the designation. In spite of injuries, he was their top receiver in 2020 but the instability at quarterback also hurt his overall production. He was supposed to bounce back under Urban Meyer but he and pretty much every other player in last year’s roster took a step back instead.
Earlier this year, it looked like the Jaguars were going to make a strong push to re-sign Chark, who was set to become a free agent. Head coach Doug Pederson even said that he wanted him back but the wide receiver ended up hitting the open market.
It’s hard to tell from the outside how aggressive Jacksonville’s efforts were to keep Chark. In the same manner, it’s hard to gauge his interest to stay in Jacksonville after the Urban Meyer debacle. Maybe he wanted a fresh start and he’s getting it in Detroit. Meyer’s questionable coaching acumen was probably the main reason Chark wanted to leave the Jags but it’s also possible that he just simply thought it was time to move on.
Regardless of Chark’s reasons to sign with the Lions, it seems like he and the Jaguars are doing just fine, so signing with the Lions might have been the best move for all the parties involved.