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D.J. Chark Could be Best WR Fit for Steelers in Free Agency

The Pittsburgh Steelers best fit in free agency at wide receiver might be former Panthers wide receiver D.J. Chark.



Pittsburgh Steelers DJ Chark

Free agent wide receiver D.J. Chark thought the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to pick him in the 2018 NFL Draft, and they might have another shot at him this offseason. It could be their best fit to help solidify the wide receiver room. Before the NFL Drat the Los Angeles Chargers were hot on the trail, hosting Chark for a visit last week.

According to Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, Chark will likely command a two-year, $13 million contract on the open market with $8.5 million guaranteed. And with Pittsburgh’s past interest in him, it could be something they look into.

Chark had a pretty miserable season last year, but what member of the Carolina Panthers offense didn’t? He caught 35 of 66 targets for 525 yards and was not retained after his one-year deal expired. He is a big body that could be a blocking weapon, and has played in a similar scheme when he was with the Detroit Lions. In 2019 and 2020 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was very productive, totaling over 1,700 yards, 13 TDs, and a Pro Bowl nod in 2019. Though it’s been a while since he reached that level, he’s still only 27 years old.

But the interest from the Steelers in Chark was very real back in 2018.

Appearing in an episode of the Punch Line Podcast with Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Chark said that he thought he might end up in Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Steelers had pick No. 60 with Chark on the board in the second round, and needed a wide receiver. Instead, they ended up taking Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington. Chark ended up going one pick later to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I had an idea, I said maybe I’d go to Pittsburgh. They actually picked before me. The pick before I got picked to Jacksonville, they picked James Washington. So when it was coming up, I was like okay, I had a good relationship with them, talking to them. My phone rang, and I thought it was them, but I saw the 904. I was like, alright, that’s cool, too.”

Now, Chark could end up with the team he nearly thought he’d be drafted by. One of the top free agents remaining on the market, the 27-year-old Chark could be a fit for the Steelers, who had three vacancies at wide receiver and have recently been connected to other free agents such as Mike Williams and Tyler Boyd.

Chark’s last deal with the Panthers was a one-year offering for $5 million. That should be well within the Steelers’ price range for a fourth wide receiver to go along with George Pickens, Roman Wilson, Calvin Austin III and Van Jefferson.