Saints Linked To WR DJ Chark As Potential Free Agency Target

DJ Chark, Saints
NFL Analysis Network

The New Orleans Saints fell just short of a playoff spot this season, finishing 9-8. It is fair to ask what would have happened if Jameis Winston had not gotten hurt in the team’s Week 8 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, what could have been.

The Saints were 5-2 at the time but were unable to get their season back on track after that. Inconsistent quarterback play was a big reason why, as Trevor Siemian went 0-4 as a starter in relief of Winston. Taysom Hill went 4-1, but it was too little too late for New Orleans.

Heading into the 2022 offseason, there will be a lot of attention given to the quarterback position. However, the front office also has to address who that quarterback will be catching passes from.

A wide receiver could be near the top of the Saints’ to-do list this offseason. There is no guarantee that Michael Thomas returns to the team, which left a huge void atop the depth chart at the position. Marquez Callaway led the team with 698 yards, while Alvin Kamara recorded the most receptions with 47 in 13 games.

Improving the wide receiver spot is critical for the Saints, especially if they cannot iron out the issues with Thomas to return to the team. There are some good options that the team could target in free agency. One to keep an eye on, according to PFF, is DJ Chark of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Chark was a second-round pick out of LSU in 2018, so a return to the Saints would be a homecoming for him. The former Tiger standout would provide New Orleans with some much-needed speed and size outside, standing 6’4” with 4.34 speed at the NFL Combine.

Chark broke out in his second season in 2019, catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He was solid in 2020 as well, catching 53 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns. Unfortunately, his 2021 season was cut short because of a fractured ankle suffered in the fourth game of the season.

Before the injury, Chark showcased his big-play ability. He was averaging 22 yards per reception and had already scored two touchdowns in three games. His once-promising career has stalled out a bit, but landing with the Saints could help him get back on track.

He would have a prominent role in the offense even if Thomas does return to the lineup. If New Orleans and Thomas parted ways, DJ Chark could find himself atop the pecking order for targets on the Saints.