The Jaguars’ decision to sign wide receiver Christian Kirk to a four-year, $72 million deal as a free agent did not receive a lot of rave reviews outside of Jacksonville last offseason, but there are likely some people who would like a mulligan on their initial response.
Kirk ranked among the top receivers in the league by posting career-highs with 84 catches for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns while helping the Jaguars to an AFC South title. Kirk added 15 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the postseason, including a fourth quarter touchdown against the Chargers that helped the Jags pull off an epic comeback in the Wild Card round.
During an interview with Kay Adams of FanDuel TV on Monday, Kirk reflected on the initial response to his signing and said that he doesn’t feel like his production this year has resulted in the kind of respect he feels like he’s earned.
“Well, it’s funny because I still feel like I don’t get the respect that I deserve, and it’s kind of been that way,” Kirk said. “And, you know, with all the noise and after I signed my deal this offseason, it was the loudest. Now, especially with the season that I had, it started getting real quiet and everybody kind of hushed a little bit. But I just, I want my respect. I feel like I’m one of the best receivers in the NFL. And that’s the way I play. That’s the chip that I carry on my shoulder and I’m gonna keep earning it.”
Zay Jones was just behind Kirk with 82 catches this season and the Jags traded for Calvin Ridley with designs on getting him back from suspension next season. If they can also re-sign tight end Evan Engram, they should have one of the league’s most effective receiving groups in 2023. That may not lead to Kirk getting the kind of love he’s looking for, but it should serve the Jags’ well in their bid to return to the postseason.