There’s a saying in life that sums up the offseason moves, so far, by the Detroit Lions. And it’s the move that you don’t make that is often times the best one. The Lions didn’t land Allen Robinson, the Detroit-native who’s the top free-agent wideout. Reports were that they had an interest in him. Instead, they signed DJ Chark.
And over time, it will prove to be the smartest move for the team’s future.
For the Detroit Lions to land Robinson, they were going to have to cough up some serious cash. And don’t get it twisted, he’s worth giving a nice deal to. About a week ago, the suggested deal to land him would be a four-year deal around $60-65 million. For the Lions, it wouldn’t have been a bad deal. It just wouldn’t have been a great one. Either way, no one would’ve lost sleep over it.
Then Christian Kirk happened. Kirk, 25, is bolting the Cardinals, and has agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal, which maxes out at $84 million. Now Kirk is a good receiver, but Allen Robinson is better. Just put their careers next to each other. Robinson will command a big deal based on his body of work.
And because of the deal Kirk landed, don’t expect Robinson to take a penny less.
Because of that, the Detroit Lions could not afford to give Robinson the type of money he would command. Not with the many holes they need to fill. Furthermore, it wouldn’t make sense to do it either.
The quarterback position with the Lions is still an interesting situation. Jared Goff is the quarterback for the Lions right now. There’s no telling if he’ll be the quarterback of the future. And because there’s still uncertainty in that department, it doesn’t make sense to lock into a long term deal with an aging wide receiver. Robinson will be 29 at the start of the upcoming season. And he’s also coming off an injury.
He’d be around 33 at the end of the deal. Signing him for anything other than a reasonable two-year deal would’ve been bad for the Lions, specifically.
That’s why landing DJ Chark was an amazing play.
Chark, who’s also coming off an injury, will be 26 this Summer. And he’s signed with the Lions on a one-year deal, which is essentially a “prove it” deal.
That’s what the Lions need.
Allen Robinson is right now looking for a big payday and a chance to probably win immediately. Chark, on the other hand, is looking for the chance to become a Pro Bowl receiver again, regaining his play from 2019. That season he had 73 catches for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. If he’s able to stay healthy, he has a chance to do that in Detroit. And if Chark is successful in his first season in Detroit, more than likely both sides would want to extend his deal.
Chark will now join Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Josh Reynolds to form a very respectable wideout trio for the Lions. And the great thing for the Lions is the new trio along with T.J. Hockenson, Quintez Cephus, and Kalif Raymond are all young and on reasonable deals.
The Detroit Lions still need to make a few more moves, but landing DJ Chark could be the one that pays the biggest dividends.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.