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Steelers Have Competition for D.J. Chark

Free agent wide receiver D.J. Chark thought the Steelers were going to draft him in 2018, but he could be an option in Pittsburgh now.



Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent Target WR D.J. 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. But the Los Angeles Chargers are hot on the trail, hosting Chark for a visit last week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

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.

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 spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville, and had his career-best year there in 2019, when he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He ashen’t been able to replicate that level of production since. After a slight downturn in 2020, a broken ankle sank his 2021 season and he left Jacksonville in free agency.

Chark signed a pair of one-year deals in 2022 and 2023, first with the Detroit Lions, where he caught 30 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in 2022 and then with the Carolina Panthers, where he caught 35 passes for 525 yards and five scores last season.

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, Calvin Austin III and Van Jefferson.