Don’t be surprised if D.J. Chark is the receiver the Patriots bring in to bolster their offense.
New England is among a slew of teams that could show interest in the 25-year-old free agent receiver, according to NFL Media’s Mike Giardi. Chark is coming off a campaign that saw him suffer a season-ending fractured ankle in September.
The Patriots reportedly have done extensive work on veteran receivers this offseason as they look to potentially upgrade on the offensive side of the ball.
“A name that I haven’t really mentioned much that should be mentioned, not just for the Patriots but for pretty much anybody, D.J. Chark,” Giardi said Saturday during an NFL Network appearance. “He’s just two years removed from 70-plus catches and almost 1,100 yards. Had an injury-plagued season last year. …
“He’s someone that should get a lot of attention here in free agency.”
As Giardi mentioned, it wasn’t so long ago that Chark was viewed as one of the NFL’s most promising young receivers.
Taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Chark saw limited action his rookie season but broke out during his sophomore campaign, racking up 73 catches for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns with Gardner Minshew at quarterback.
The LSU product missed three games in 2020 but still posted 53 catches for 706 yards and five TDs for the lowly Jaguars. Any hope of Chark and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence developing a dynamic connection this season was wiped away when Chark injured his ankle while playing against the Cincinnati Bengals.
At 6-foot-4, Chark is the kind of explosive, athletic receiver who could transform the Patriots’ offense if he stays healthy and plays to his potential. Despite his recent injury history, Chark figures to land a significant contract on the open market, although a short-term prove-it deal probably shouldn’t be ruled out.