DJ Chark took a prove-it deal with the Detroit Lions this offseason, and it he does so he could cash in very nicely.
Coming off a season with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he missed 13 games, and a season before that which wasn’t too good, DJ Chark took a one-year, “prove-it” deal with the Detroit Lions.
The Lions filled their need for downfield threat in an inexpensive way, and a closer look at the deal actually shows the cap hit for 2023 (when he’s not technically under contract) is higher than it is for this year. Via Over The Cap, two void years were tacked on to spread out the signing bonus impact, and the contract voids on Feb. 10, 2023.
So there was a lot of contract structuring done that will ultimately mean little, or actually nothing, if Chark performs well this season.
DJ Chark can cash in very nicely with a rebound season in 2022
Chark was a Pro Bowler with the Jaguars in 2019, when he had 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He’ll turn 26 on Sept. 23, so he’s hardly at the end of the line with plenty of untapped potential.
On his recent list of seven NFL players with the most riding on a contract year in 2022, Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus included Chark.
Chark and his camp’s decision to go the short-term contract route after missing most of the 2021 campaign to injury has aged well, and with a productive year potentially serving as the No. 1 option in Detroit, the 25-year-old could still cash in big on a multi-year deal.
Chark simply has physical abilities other guys never will, and if he can stay healthy and productive for a full season, he’ll look to be paid accordingly.
Spielberger noted the run of wide receiver contracts that came this offseason (Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel…). Chark is not in that class of wide receivers right now, but a rising market is good for everyone and there’s opportunity in front of him this year as a prominent part of the Lions’ passing game.
If he gets back toward his 2019 level this year, or dare I say exceeds it, the Lions should have no problem securing Chark’s services for multiple more years on a deal that pays him handsomely.
But even if he’s not back in Detroit for 2023 (and/or beyond), a rebound season in 2022 will line Chark up to have multiple teams interested in paying him and he will cash in.