Christian Kirk was a good but not a great receiver in his four NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He just posted 77 receptions for 982 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. Again, those are solid numbers, but nothing to blow fans away.
The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to think he can be a star. So much so that they signed him to a four-year, $72 million deal with $37 million guaranteed at signing. Again, he’s never posted a 1,000-yard season and has 17 total touchdowns over his four-year career.
Still, the Jaguars are betting on him and resetting the receiver market in the process. So where does his deal currently rank among his group of positions?
Christian Kirk is paid like an elite NFL wide receiver
In terms of Total value, Kirk is now tied for sixth in the NFL among receivers with his $72 million deal in Jacksonville. This links him to Kenny Golladay and Stefon Diggs. Still, it’s worth noting that Kirk is around $3 million less guaranteed than Golladay or Diggs.
Amari Cooper is leading the way as he pursues his five-year, $100 million deal. It earns him $20 million a year, of which $60 million was guaranteed. Michael Thomas is second with just over $96 million in his contract, with just over $60 million guaranteed.
But what about the average annual value? It’s always a great way to see who’s the best on the market in any given season. DeAndre Hopkins leads that category with $27.25 million under his two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
Julio Jones is second on his three-year, $66 million deal. To show how prices are rising, Davante Adams will be third at $20.1 million if he signs his franchise tag. He’s not expected to do so, but the fact remains that the catcher franchise tags are nearing record pay.
So Kirk is still a bit behind in terms of annual salary. Again, he wasn’t even his team’s best option. It was Hopkins, who leads the category in annual average value.
The situation here looks like the Jaguars needed to add talent and were willing to overpay someone who wasn’t worried about heading into the perpetually losing franchise. Kirk is now paid as a number one receiver and will have a lot to do with this new contract.
For reference, Hopkins is a five-time All-Pro and receives just over $27 million a year. Kirk was a solid depth option and now makes $18 million a year. That means the second and third receivers on the depth charts are now in line for some serious raises. As for number one receivers, like Adams, anything less than $20 million a year would be an insult.