The Detroit Lions now have to actually consider how to replace DJ Chark, and Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton has resurfaced as a potential option.
It felt inevitable back to before free agency started, but the Detroit Lions indeed lost wide receiver DJ Chark, to the Carolina Panthers. Merely on the concept of having to replace Chark, Courtland Suttton made some sense for the Lions as the Denver Broncos entertain trade offers for both of their top two wide receivers.
Sutton is not garnering as much rumored trade interest as teammate Jerry Jeudy, but plenty of teams could seen him as a better fit for their need and the Lions are among them. Sutton’s build and skillset are a better match for Chark’s build and skillset, which is what the Lions may be looking to replace with an external experienced option.
The Broncos reportedly have high asking prices for Sutton and Jeudy, but as the draft inches closer it’s worth wondering if a slap of reality will change that.
Courtland Sutton has prominently resurfaced as an option for Lions to replace DJ Chark
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports has Sutton on his list of 14 players who could be shopped before the draft. The Lions are among the team fits named for Sutton, with this bigger picture view.
Sutton’s fellow wideout Jerry Jeudy has been a more frequent subject of trade rumors, but we’re inclined to think Sean Payton is OK being patient with the former first-rounder, who’s just 23 and can easily be retained through 2024. Sutton, on the other hand, is a more proven commodity but due $17M+ in each of the next three years. Dealing him would save Denver $6.8M right away.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus has listed some top trade candidates, and team fits for them. Sutton is on that list too, with the Lions named a possible fit for him as well.
Rumors have been swirling all offseason that basically the entire Denver receiving corps is on the trading block for the right offer as Sean Payton looks to change tack and craft an offense that Russell Wilson can succeed within. Sutton has looked like the most obvious odd man out from the beginning. Last season, he averaged just 1.55 yards per route run and registered six drops. At 6-foot-4 and over 210 pounds, Sutton has the skill set to be a true X-receiver, something that this free agency class and draft are light on. There are teams that have yet to find that player, or actively lost one, that could be interested.
Sutton’s contract is a potential thing for any team that may be interested in trading for him, with three years remaining and cap hits of $18.3, $17.3 and $17.8 million respectively. But there is a potential palatable out in 2024, with $2 million due to him on March 21 and, albeit with a dead money hit, the ability to clear cap space by parting ways. In 2025, $14 million in cap space can be cleared by cutting him.
So it would not have to be a full three-year commitment. Two possibly, and only one if things really didn’t work out.
A Day 2 draft pick would be viable to give up for Sutton. More than that would be stretching it, but if the Broncos really want to move on that is realistic and what they are probably getting for offers as they maintain too high an asking price according to reports.
Interest in Sutton from the Lions feels easy to tab, before Chark was officially gone and possibly even moreso now. Getting a deal done with the Broncos, if they hold to a high asking price, is another story though.