When evaluating what the Jacksonville Jaguars need to do this offseason, one of the main areas of concern is their lack of speed and explosiveness on offense. It’s a problem that could get worse if the team doesn’t keep wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. on the outside, who is widely considered the Jags’ most dangerous vertical threat.
Even if the Jags keep Chark, more explosiveness is needed on offense to help quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was excellent at creating high-profile plays at Clemson. However, he had options like Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers and Tee Higgins at the time, all of whom were among the college’s top receivers in their prime.
The Jags’ lack of explosiveness is something general manager Trent Baalke also mentioned during the combine this week, so it looks like he and new coach Doug Pederson are set to address the issue soon in free agency. There are options like pending free agents Chris Godwin, Davante Adams and Allen Robinson who could be available, and with around $55 million in cap space available to the Jags, none of them are out. of the Jags price range.
However, another under-the-radar receiver who could help the Jags is Arizona’s Christian Kirk. He’ll come off a career-high 77 catches for 982 receiving yards despite being part of a team full of talent on his offense. But quarterback Kyler Murray wants a contract extension — and with the Cardinals about $2,000 under the cap, retaining their pending free agents may get complicated.
According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss, Kirk should have a hot market, so if the Jags want it, it looks like they’ll have some competition. Kirk being young (25) alongside his production, he could be an expensive (but certainly manageable) signing. Spotrac expects its market value to be around $11.8 million per year over four years, but if it’s in high demand, it’s likely to exceed that number. However, if that’s the number he ends up with, Kirk’s total contract could be somewhere around $47.2 million in total.
Should the Jaguars pursue Kirk this offseason?
When it comes to explosive plays and speed, it’s easy to see why the Jags might be interested in Kirk. After all, the organization witnessed it first hand as Kirk had an impressive Week 3 against the Jags totaling seven catches for 104 yards. It’s a number that was good for a season high as Kirk played in all 17 regular season games for Arizona.
The next question to consider is how the Jags would use Kirk in their plan, and whether or not he will come up with the numbers for a contract that could guarantee around $20 million or more. In his final season in Arizona, he saw the majority of his snaps in the slot (736), while 202 snaps were taken outside. However, in Kirk’s previous three seasons, his shots on the outside have won out over his shots in the slots.
Obviously, in this case, the Jags would get a very versatile weapon that could hurt teams from different positions. That said, it’s easy to see Kirk being seen by Pederson as a Jordan Matthews-type player, who Pederson used a lot in the slot and outside during his first year as head coach (2016). .
Something to consider before signing Kirk is how they view Jamal Agnew, who looked like he could be a star for the Jags in the slot. If the new staff wants him to focus on special teams, signing Kirk also makes sense as it frees up snaps in the slot for a new receiver.
If Kirk were to sign, it looks like he would have the potential to be more successful in Jacksonville as he would easily be their most accomplished receiver under 30 (even on Chark). In a place like Jacksonville, he could be a regular 1,000-yard receiver because their receiver’s room isn’t as crowded with stars. At the same time, their quarterback situation also has the potential to be better than Arizona’s.
If the Jags view Kirk’s prospects the same way, he could be a great signing for them. However, if he has multiple suitors, it will be up to general manager Trent Baalke to come up with the right figure to pay him, and potentially up to Pederson to impress him with the offense and his role in it.