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Following the 2021 season, it was clear that the Detroit Lions needed to add a playmaker to their wide receiver group. Despite an extremely impressive rookie performance by WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, the team was looking for a player who could stretch the field for QB Jared Goff and take their offense to the next level. During the free agency period, the Lions signed a talented, but often injured receiver, DJ Chark, to a one-year, $10 million “prove-it” deal. Although Chark initially struggled with injuries and had a slow start, he eventually became a standout player for the Lions' offense in 2022. Now, the question is, will he be back with the team in 2023?
Why it Matters
For Goff to have great success as a quarterback, he, like most quarterbacks on planet earth, has to have a lot of talent around them. Chark proved toward the end of the season that he is a downfield threat and a weapon that Goff has become very comfortable with.
- First 5 Games of 2022: 9 catches 114 yards (22.8 yards per game)
- Final 6 Games of 2022: 21 catches 388 yards (64.7 yards per game)
Chark Wants to stay in Detroit
During a recent interview, Chark made it pretty clear that he wants to return to Detroit for the 2023 season.
“I have a good relationship, not only with the players, but the coaches,” Chark said. “Obviously, it's a business, you've got to work out the numbers and all of that, but this place checks off all the boxes. I have a good relationship with the coaching staff, I'm used to the city, I've adjusted to the cold.
“I'm a big believer and I'm going to let my faith go before me and I feel I'll end up in the right place,” he continued. “I think this is a great place for me. If it works out, I definitely wouldn't mind sitting here talking to you from this same locker. We just have to see how it goes, but I'm pleased with everything, even the bumps in the road I had this (season), I'm pleased with how things went.”
Predicting Contract Lions will offer DJ Chark
Though Chark did end as a nice weapon for Goff over the final six weeks of the season, it is important to remember that he did miss six games with an injury. In fact, since being drafted, he has yet to play in a full season (played in 54 out of 82 possible games), and you can bet that will be a factor when Brad Holmes offers him a contract.
According to Spotrac, Chark's market value is currently 3 years, $28,751,556, which breaks down to $9,583,852 per season.
Spotrac is one of my favorite sites to check out on a daily basis, but I think they are a bit off with this projection. First of all, it would surprise me if Chark gets a 3-year, $28.75 million deal. Not because he is not talented, but because of the injury factor.
When it comes down to it, I am not a big fan of overpaying for wide receivers, and if I was Brad Holmes, I would have a hard time offering Chark more than a 2-year, $15 million deal ($7.5 million per season). Even at that amount, I would probably try to structure the contract in a way that Chark would earn his contract by playing in more games.