The New England Patriots have hardly upgraded at wide receiver this year, and this cheaper but high-reward player could be a solid get for the team. There just seems to be so much uncertainty regarding the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Jr, Jerry Jeudy, and any other wide receiver on the trade block.
With the wide receiver free agent market being weak, some of the remaining biggest names will likely go for more than they’d originally would. New England has tried to upgrade their core this offseason with the addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster, effectively replacing Jakobi Meyers.
They also brought in another quality pass catcher in Mike Gesicki. However, given the moves that the rest of the AFC East have made this offseason, it’s imperative that the Pats do something more. They’re already at a disadvantage with Mac Jones at the quarterback position. He’ll clearly be the worst starting QB in the division, especially when the Aaron Rodgers’ trade is finalized.
One option that won’t cost a ton compared to acquiring someone like DeAndre Hopkins is DJ Chark. DJ Chark was a second round draft pick back in 2018 and is still 26 years old. He began his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars and made a Pro Bowl in 2019 with a 1,000 yard season.
The biggest issue with Chark is that he does have some injury concerns. He’s never played a full season in the NFL and missed 13 games in 2021 and six games in 2022.
However, Chark is an alien, to say the least. He’s 6’4″ and comes in at 200 pounds. He’s got 4.3 speed and jumped 40 inches at the NFL Combine.
There is a true WR1 upside with this player and the Patriots likely won’t have to pay much to acquire his services. He signed for $10 million last year with the Detroit Lions and I’m not sure he’d get that much on the free agent market this year.
New England should jump on this opportunity to sign a player like Chark. It could end up paying off in the long-term and he’s set to enter his age-27 season, so he realistically should have some solid years ahead of him if he can stay on the field.