Jaguars Place WR Christian Kirk On IR

Already known to be facing a multi-week absence, Christian Kirk is now in line to miss an extended stretch. The veteran wideout will be placed on injured reserve, head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday (via Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network). The team has since announced the move.

Kirk will undergo core muscle surgery, a procedure which will shut him down for a critical stretch in the season. With the surgery now confirmed, attention will turn to the 27-year-old’s recovery process. By virtue of being moved to IR, an absence of at least four weeks is now guaranteed. The Jaguars will be without a major part of their offense as a result.

Kirk leads Jacksonville in receiving yards (787) this season, and he also ranks first on the team amongst wideouts in receptions (57). A recovery timeline of up to eight weeks has been floated in his case, something which would end his season unless the Jaguars managed to make a run to the Super Bowl. Coming back along a shorter timeframe could still allow him to return to the lineup in time for the team’s regular season finale, though.

In any event, Kirk’s absence will be acutely felt on an offense which has struggled to consistently produce through the air this season. The former Cardinal has eclipsed 84 receiving yards five times in 2023, his second season in Duval County. His first year with Jacksonville – brought about by the four-year, $72MM deal which raised plenty of eyebrows at the time it was signed – produced a career-best statline of 84-1,108-8.

Year 2 with the Jaguars was likewise proving Kirk’s presence as an integral member of the team’s passing attack. The presence of trade acquisition Calvin Ridley will help offset Kirk’s absence, though a sizeable gap exists between Ridley and Jacksonville’s next most productive wideout (Zay Jones, who has posted 186 yards on 18 catches). Tight end Evan Engram and running back Travis Etienne will be increasingly counted upon with Kirk not in the picture.

Of course, quarterback Trevor Lawrence‘s status is also up in the air after he left Monday’s game with a high ankle sprain. The former No. 1 pick has not been ruled out for Week 14, but he has work to to during practice to convince the coaching staff to continue his streak of having not missed a game in his career. Regardless of who is under center for Jacksonville in the immediate future, though, Kirk will not be available.

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