Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Free Agent Pro Bowler Could Replace Departed First-Round Pick

Free agent wide receiver DJ Chark had a rough 2023 with the Carolina Panthers but could bounce back in a fresh environment.
DJ Chark Free Agent

After a disappointing debut season with the Carolina Panthers, DJ Chark has yet to receive much interest on the free agent market. Originally signed to be a cost-effective deep threat for Bryce Young, the receiver and quarterback struggled to establish a connection throughout the season. Appearing in 15 games, the former second-round pick caught just 35 of his 66 targets for 525 yards and five touchdowns.

This underwhelming campaign hurt his free agent value, but we don’t have to go back too far to find a time when DJ Chark was a valuable part of a passing offense. While injuries limited him to just 11 games in 2022, he still recorded 502 yards, three touchdowns, and 9.7 yards per target during his lone season with the Detroit Lions. Maybe he’ll never match his Pro Bowl production from 2019, but he probably can still be a decent vertical option in the right offense.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus recently released an article naming the best team fits for the best available players, and he believed DJ Chark would be a natural fit for the Arizona Cardinals.

Free Agent DJ Chark Could Sign With Arizona Cardinals, Replace Marquise Brown

On paper, DJ Chark is at his best stretching the field vertically, which makes him a great free agent fit for the Arizona Cardinals. After losing Marquise Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs, the only reliable pass-catching weapon on the roster is tight end Trey McBride. While the team will almost certainly draft a wide receiver with the fourth-overall pick, they could still use a proven deep threat to stretch the field vertically.

DJ Chark isn’t going to put up another 1,000-yard season, but the former second-round pick should have more success in Arizona than he did in Carolina. Kyler Murray is at his best throwing deep to the outside (2023 notwithstanding), which plays into Chark’s strengths.

With all this being said, DJ Chark will probably have to wait until after the 2024 NFL Draft to sign a new contract. Every single team is hoping to land their next great deep threat on a cost-controlled contract, but there are only so many good players to go around. Chark could be a decent consolation prize for any team that misses out on their preferred prospect, and these five organizations are the most likely fits.

Other Potential Fits

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers need to rebuild their wide receiver room from scratch. Quentin Johnston needs a historic turnaround following his atrocious rookie season, Josh Palmer is nothing special, and everyone else is either a low-ceiling depth option or a special teamer. Even if the Chargers draft a wide receiver or two, they’ll still need more help. The team is reportedly interested in free agent Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but DJ Chark could be the better fit.

New England Patriots

The Tyquan Thornton Era has not worked out for New England. While the former second-round pick can run fast in a straight line, he has yet to prove he can do anything else at an NFL level. DJ Chark might not be the next Randy Moss, but the free agent can provide some stability for New England’s next quarterback.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Brandon Aiyuk trade rumors are heating up, but for the time being, the Steelers still need a second wide receiver. George Pickens is a promising young player, but he can’t carry this offense all on his own. Like Murray, Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson is at his best throwing deep shots down the field, making DJ Chark a good free agent fit.

Dallas Cowboys

Last year, the Dallas Cowboys believed Brandin Cooks could bring a much-needed vertical element to the offense. Unfortunately, the former first-round pick lost that high geat and didn’t do much of anything during his first campaign with the club. Seeing as Jerry Jones is seemingly unwilling to spend money, DJ Chark could be a good cost-effective free agent who could bring some speed to this offense.

Baltimore Ravens

Odell Beckham is not going to be back in 2024, which means the Ravens need to find a new receiver. With glaring needs all over the roster, the team might have to look for someone like DJ Chark who won’t receive much more than the league minimum. While his skillset is a little redundant with Nelson Agholor, this team should be able to incorporate both vertical threats into the offnese.

Main Photo: Corey Perrine – USA Today Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message