Both the Lions and Panthers continued their DJ Chark pursuits this week. Carolina already bringing in Adam Thielen will not deter the team from adding Chark as well.
Chark agreed to terms on a one-year Panthers deal Friday, The Score’s Jordan Schultz tweets. ESPN’s Field Yates subsequently tweeted that Chark, who will join Thielen and a to-be-determined rookie quarterback in Charlotte, will earn a fully guaranteed $5MM, which is comprised of a $3.92MM signing bonus and a $1.08MM base salary. The deal also includes four void years for cap purposes.
One of the better wideouts to hit the market, Chark joined Mecole Hardman and Nelson Agholor in agreeing to terms during free agency’s second week. While Thielen will provide the Panthers with a possession receiver, Chark stands to sign on as a field-stretching presence. Injuries have interrupted Chark’s progress over the past two seasons, likely leading to the one-year deal. But the Panthers, shortly after including D.J. Moore in their trade for the No. 1 overall pick, hosted both Thielen and Chark on visits.
The Lions expressed interest in re-signing Chark just after the 2022 season ended, and the former second-round pick also indicated a Detroit return would be on his radar. The sides could not come to terms, however, leading to the Panthers adding another starter. This will position Chark to either prove a fit in Carolina ahead of a potential long-term extension or hope for a more lucrative deal on the 2024 free agent market.
Over the past few months, Carolina had lost both its top receivers — Moore and Chosen Anderson — with the latter being traded after a sideline incident before last year’s deadline. Chark and Thielen may not represent long-term pieces for Carolina’s next quarterback to target, but Thielen is signed to a multiyear deal (worth $14MM guaranteed) and Chark is only going into his age-27 season.
Chark broke through back in 2019, totaling 1,008 receiving yards while teaming with Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville. The Jaguars reached their franchise nadir over the next two seasons, earning the No. 1 overall pick in 2021 and ’22, but Chark still contributed 706 yards to their cause in 2020. He suffered a fractured ankle early in the team’s 2021 season, but the Lions thought enough of the 6-foot-4 pass catcher to give him $10MM last year.
Although Chark ran into more ankle trouble that landed him on IR, he showed promising form upon returning. En route to a 508-yard season for a surprising Lions squad, Chark played a role in Detroit’s late-season surge by producing three 90-plus-yard receiving games in a four-week span in December. Chark reached a season-high 108 yards during a Week 16 loss to the Panthers, and GM Scott Fitterer will bring him aboard to help Frank Reich‘s team.
The Panthers now have two former LSU wideouts on their roster, in Chark and 2021 second-rounder Terrace Marshall. It cannot be ruled out Carolina looks to this position again in the draft, but Thielen and Chark give the team some veteran options in case it prefers to look elsewhere with its early- and mid-round picks.
17 comments on “Panthers To Sign WR DJ Chark”
Surprised the Lions didn’t jump to retain him after clearing all that money…must be another target in mind
If Chark wanted a longer contract, I would have understood if the Lions backed out. But another one-year deal would have been ideal for Detroit.
Guessing Chark wanted to be in Carolina if he is on a 1-year deal. Likely to see more targets there on a rebuilding team constantly playing from behind.
Hardly. All depends on the amount he got from Carolina. Detroit has Jameson Williams who can fill Chark’s roll. I’m sure they’d be happy to have him back at the right price but Carolina apparently wanted him more.
1 year 5 million. Guarantee Lions would have paid him more on a 1 year deal. He sees this year as an audition.
Well, it’s not a great one-two punch, but it’s a lot more than they had after trading Moore. And if he ever stays healthy, I still hold out hope that’s he can be more than just a nice third option.
well I don’t they’re a contender but gives numero uno 2 veteran targets to develop with.
real shame they had to give up Moore who goes to waste with Fields ignoring receivers in Chicago
Fields didn’t have any receivers nearly as good as Moore to ignore.
he’s still a run first qb like Lamar.. theres a reason why Ravens didn’t waste money on WR, and I’d lean towards the logical one more than the conspiratorial one
We’ve never seen Lamar in a non-Greg Roman offense. We’ve never seen Fields with decent weapons and protection. I think it’s worth finding out about both.
sure we did.
Plenty of footage of them overthrowing guys in college.
Point taken about the Bears, but Fields’ mechanics leave a lot to be desired as a thrower. The advantage is, as with Jackson, it seems like both players are willing and committed to getting better on that front.
The Ravens and Bears both have similar situations in that their quarterbacks need to be better passing the ball, and the teams need to be better schematically to allow them better opportunities. The roster could be better, but a simplistic scheme will never take full advantage of better players on its own, and improving that scheme is the first step to allowing those receivers to get open better and to allowing those quarterbacks to get experience with more complex reads/routes.
Too bad Carolina will still suck next season
After the haul they traded for the 2023 #1, it would be hilarious if they end up with the 2024 #1
probably will , but the QBs are in this draft
Caleb & Drake?
I really think this is the only real mistake that the Lions have made this offseason. I love all the acquisitions we’ve made (especially at CB and S) but putting all your money on Jameson Williams breaking out at WR this season doesn’t make much sense when you’ve cleared as much $$$ as we have. Another 1 year deal for Chark just made so much sense not to do! He played so well last season and was a favorite target of Goff in the 2nd half of the year. I am on the JWill bandwagon and I do think hell eventually be a helluva down field threat. But Chark is a proven option that you know what your getting, and really wanted to come back to the D. I’m sure Holmes has an idea of what he wants to do at the position (mid-round draft pick?) but this really sucked to watch him leave for another 1 year pact that we definitely could afford to give. But i got faith in what Holmes and MCDC are doing, so we’ll see what happens.