Citing what he observed from afar last season, DJ Chark says he chose the Detroit Lions.
Some free agent wide receivers have done quite well with multi-year deals this offseason (Christian Kirk, Allen Robinson, Russell Gage). DJ Chark was not one, signing a one-year, $10 million deal with the Detroit Lions. But coming off playing just four games in 2021 due to a broken ankle, a prove-it deal was always in the cards for Chark.
Despite that injury-truncated season, and not-great production with the Jaguars in 2020, Chark seemed to have a decent market for his services. The New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders (before acquiring Davante Adams of course) were specifically mentioned as suitors, and the Lions were easy to tab with interest too.
The official announcement of Chark’s signing came on Thursday, and he spoke to the media. First, Lions general manager Brad Holmes spoke about the fit from the team’s end.
“It’s easy to talk about the stats and all of his accomplishments,” Holmes said. “Year 2 and he’s a Pro Bowler and all that stuff, but the real thing is we’re all about culture, we’re all about fit, and that’s what DJ is going to bring. He fits what we’re all about.”
DJ Chark said he noticed, and ultimately chose, the Lions
Chark said, with the Jaguars having a similar record last season, he paid attention to the Lions and noticed the difference from how things were going in Jacksonville. When it came down to it, he chose the Lions upon hitting the market.
“I kept up with the Lions just because at the time we had the same record,” Chark said. “But, the games looked different, and I appreciated the hustle, grit, the way they persevered.”
“I had like one or two long-term deals, but it wasn’t the right fit,” Chark said. “This is the right fit, and I’m happy about my decision.”
Chark was a Pro Bowler in 2019, when he posted 73 catches for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. Things haven’t gone as well since, but he saw an ideal opportunity to bet on himself in Detroit with the culture foundation that started in 2021 as a tipping point for him. The Lions aren’t a prime free agent destination just yet, but players around the league clearly noticed what was going on in Dan Campbell’s first season as head coach.