Very rarely do teams with one of the best young receivers in the game and a No. 2 target on a $44 million contract need to add a third wideout with the urgency the NY Jets do this offseason, but the poor play of Allen Lazard has made it tough to justify going into 2024 with the same loadout.
With Lazard, who looked nothing like the somewhat promising receiver from his Green Bay Packers days, playing so poorly that he was benched, the Jets need another X-receiver. Mike Evans and Tee Higgins are out there, but the Jets might not have the money to spend on those big names.
The Jets may look to add another receiver on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, but Joe Douglas will likely be hard at work trying to find bargains in the free-agent market. Listening to what Pro Football Focus projects, however, would be just as much of a risk as the initial Lazard contract.
PFF projected the Jets as the top suitor for former Carolina Panthers deep threat DJ Chark, who is coming off a very disappointing season. Chark was also compared to former Rams wideout Kenny Britt, who went from barely nabbing 1,000 yards to being out of the league in two years. Wow, what a deal!
NY Jets should avoid signing DJ Chark in free agency
Chark will be on his fourth team in four seasons. After a 2019 breakout with the Jaguars in which he topped the 1,000-yard plateau, the last few years have been an exercise in frustration for the former LSU star. Chark hasn't topped 750 yards in a season since, and he has missed 25 games due to injury in the last four years.
Chark recorded just 35 yards per game this season, his worst output in that category since his rookie season. He has speed, but is it worth it to sign someone who is brittle and declining with each passing season to an eight-figure deal? How does this signing mitigate against the very real possibility of Lazard continuing to struggle?
While the retirement of Corey Davis and the regression of Lazard was certainly shocking, and the former receiver leaving was not properly addressed, New York needs to either take a big swing on a young replacement in the draft or use the free agent market to bring in a proven veteran.
Chark is in need of a third-straight "prove it" deal and should only be considered if New York adds a potential starter on top of him.