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Top Free Agent Now Off the Table for Steelers

D.J. Chark is now off the table for the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency as he heads to the Los Angeles Chargers on a one year deal.



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 had another shot at him, but he is going to the Los Angeles Chargers on a one-year contract worth up to $5 million. That’s not a hefty contract or off projections, but it takes a key outside X-receiver off the market for Pittsburgh.

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. It won’t happen this time either.

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 have been a fit for the Steelers, who have a vacancy at wide receiver and have recently been connected to top trade targets like Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.

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. He got virtually the same deal with Los Angeles. Pittsburgh will now go shopping, likely staying on the trade market, to find someone who can go along with George Pickens, Roman Wilson, Calvin Austin III and Van Jefferson.