The Detroit Lions came into the 2022 offseason with more money to spend, but to Brad Holmes’ credit, they didn’t blow it irresponsibly whatsoever.
Like the 2021 offseason, the Lions focused on making smaller moves that were designed to benefit the team on the field but also the player they were signing. Short-term deals paid off big for Detroit in 2021, and in one case, it could happen again this year.
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This offseason, the Lions chose to shop almost exclusively on the bargain bin rack again, and in wideout DJ Chark, they could have scored one of the most interesting players and a great value for this season. In a piece looking at ranking the best NFL bargains for 2022, Detroit snuck on the list for their signing of Chark.
Writer Kristopher Knox had Detroit’s agreement with Chark on a one-year, $10 million dollar deal as one of the top seven best bargains this offseason. As Knox explained, Chark’s ability to make big catches in traffic helps him to be productive for an offense that needs him. Additionally, compared to what others are making at his posititon, Chark could be seen as underpaid relative to his production. additionally, Knox believes his addition could help in the development of Jameson Williams.
As he writes, “the presence of Chark gave Detroit enough flexibility to take Alabama’s Jameson Williams in the first round—and to justify trading up to do so. Williams is an elite prospect but suffered a torn ACL in the national title game against Georgia.”
Chark will give the Lions a bonafide top target, and could also ease the development of one of their young draft prizes in a situation many have worried about. To that end, when compared with the contract, it feels like a win all the way around for Detroit as well as Chark.
Chark’s Stats & Highlights
There’s reason to say Chark could turn out to be a value for the team. It’s easy to like his game as a former Pro Bowl player, and the Lions have managed to find a player who has a big body that can make catches in traffic. Chark is that guy, and has been for some time in Jacksonville. He could be earning himself a nice pay bump as a result. Chark came into the league in 2018 as a second-round pick out of LSU and was a 2019 Pro Bowl player. Statistically, he’s been solid as well with 2,042 yards and 15 touchdowns thus far in his career. Here’s a look at some of his best plays so far:
The Lions need a player who can make a big catch in the red zone or down the field in a contested manner. Chark is their guy to do just that and more, and figures to make a fast connection with Jared Goff this offseason.
How Chark Will Help Upgrade Lions Offense
It wouldn’t be a surprise Detroit badly needed a big-bodied pass catcher that is a bonafide deep threat and Chark is that. He has proven before with his work in the league that he is a player capable of going up and getting the ball vertically, which is what the Lions have missed in a big way in the offense last year. Chark could help open up Detroit’s offense in that he will give Goff a vertical threat to throw the ball to deep down the field. In 2019, Chark was a Pro Bowler, but if he has struggled with anything in is career, it’s been injuries. Last year, he was lost with an ankle injury which cost him the end of his 2021 season.
The one-year deal gives the Lions some wiggle room and avoids risk. Detroit isn’t bogged down with a major long-term deal, and Chark gets a chance to prove that he can be an elite pass catcher. If he is able to do that, there’s a great chance the Lions keep him around and reward him as they have done with wideout Josh Reynolds. With both Chark and Reynolds, the team has a pair of vertical options that will help them deliver upon some more big plays for the future.
Chark could become one of the better wideouts in the league in 2022, and if he does, folks will be shocked to learn what he is making. That could make him look like a serious value in the end.