The Jacksonville Jaguars paid a king’s ransom for wide receiver Christian Kirk in free agency, one that would pay him $72 million with $37 million over four years. Fans and players alike were shocked by the contract. But looking back, was Kirk worth his monster contract?
Former Jaguar Jalen Ramsey didn’t think so and shared his genuine reaction on Twitter. “How we locking down guys that get paid more than us… It’s all blessings though.”
But Ramsey wasn’t the only one that questioned the Jaguars’ decision to give such an absurd contract to Kirk. In fact, many football media outlets went on to claim that he was the worst signing in all of free agency.
At the time of the signing, offensive cupboards were bare for the Jaguars. After deciding to not resign D.J. Chark, the most notable names the receiver room boasted were Marvin Jones Jr., Jamal Agnew, and Laviska Shenault Jr., who later got dealt to Carolina.
While that trio is talented, none of those guys should be a No. 2 receiver, let alone the top target on any offense. With that in mind, it made more sense that Baalke would decide to splurge on an upgrade at that position.
The Jaguars investment in Christian Kirk has bear fruit
At the time, skeptics wondered whether Kirk would live up to that contract. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the talent, he did. He was just never expected to handle such a big role in the offense. Coming out of Texas A&M in the 2018 draft, Kirk was considered to be one of if not the best pure slot receiver in the class.
Arizona ended up selecting him in the second round. He surely met expectations in Arizona but hadn’t proven yet he could be a No. 1 receiver on a consistent basis. But Kirk went on to put up to have a contract year, with nearly 1,000 yards, 77 receptions, and seven touchdowns.
So far this year, Kirk has lived up to almost all expectations. Through 12 games, he’s caught 62 passes for 829 yards and a personal career-tying seven touchdowns. That’s WR1 production. He’s outproduced fellow No. 1 receivers D.K. Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Mike Evans, D.J. Moore, and Dionte Johnson. Not to mention all those listed are getting paid more than Kirk.
As of this writing, Kirk ranks 15th in receiving yards. Just seven yards separate Kirk from Tyler Lockett, who ranks 12th. Kirk is currently tied for fifth in receiving touchdowns.
Right now, Kirk is on pace to finish with 1,174 yards on 88 catches and ten touchdowns. Not bad for the 18th highest-paid receiver in the league, right?. So to answer the question if he’s worth the contract, the answer is definitely yes. Kirk has become the most dangerous pass-catching threat in the Jaguars’ offense. He has been able to form a great rapport with young gunslinger Trevor Lawrence.
Jaguars fans should be extremely excited for 2023 when Calvin Ridley comes back. Kirk and Ridley could form the best receiver duo that Jacksonville has seen in years.