Former Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk Discusses His Mega Deal With Jacksonville Jaguars
By Space Coast Daily // June 3, 2022
Christian Kirk wasn’t a player many people expected to be a main free agency feature this year, yet he ended up being just that, agreeing a four-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars to the tune of $84 million in mid-March.
Kirk, 25, spent the first four seasons of his career with the Arizona Cardinals before the Jags snatched him up on the first day of this year’s legal tampering period. The new deal saw him become one of the top 10 highest-paid wide receivers at the time despite never reaching 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in his first four professional campaigns.
The player has since spoken to CBS Sports and acknowledged the great feeling that came with being rewarded for all of the hard work he’s put into refining his game.
“It felt great,” he said on signing his new deal. “Just all the hard work and everything that I’ve been through, especially in my NFL career. To go out and have a successful year last year and then to be rewarded with a second contract, it’s just been a blessing. As football players, that’s one thing we work for, and just to be able to extend your career within the NFL has been great. Just excited about the opportunity.”
The contract is significant in that it raised the pay standard for all star receivers, though it would be a stretch to claim it shook up the market. Davante Adams ended up being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders after failing to come to terms on a new deal with the Green Bay Packers while Tyreek Hill moved to the Miami Dolphins from the Kansas City Chiefs for pretty much the same reason. Kirk admitted his deal is responsible for the shift but also pointed out that it was going to happen one way or the other and he just happened to be the first player.
“I know I was one of the first, but to me the way I look at it, it was bound to happen,” he explained. “The cap changes every year and the market for all positions, it fluctuates. With the cap going up and with teams with more money to deploy, the wide receiver position specifically to have such a big impact on the game, you were going to see guys like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs get the deals that they got. And yeah, I was one of the first ones and people want to say I shook up the market.
“But in my opinion, things like that were going to happen regardless, but it definitely feels good to be able to, I guess maybe take that first step for the position and kind of advocate for us to be considered to be one of the highest-paid positions in the league.”
The Cardinals have been in the news for way more than letting Kirk leave. Star quarterback Kyler Murray and his agent were pushing hard for a new deal and there were rumors he could end up elsewhere but the Cards picked up his fifth-year option, locking him in for another two years for $30 million.
Things are looking up for Arizona now, having ended the Murray saga, as well as secured a trade for rookie WR Marquise Brown. Murray and Brown played together at Oklahoma and will be linking up for the Cardinals moving forward. It will be interesting to see how much success they find playing together again, and fans keen on punting on team futures would do well to note that BetMGM Arizona offers odds on the Cards.
Despite all of the drama surrounding the team and the disappointing way their season ended, Kirk claims to have loved every second of his career there.
“Loved every second,” he insisted. “Arizona is my home, it will be my home forever. The fan base, the organization, all my teammates left a long-lasting impact on me and my journey. It definitely was hard, but the opportunity to come here to Jacksonville and to play under Coach Pederson and to play with Trevor (Lawrence) and all the great guys that we have on this roster was just really intriguing for me. Just felt like a great new opportunity for me to have a new start and to keep maximizing my potential and go and hopefully win a championship here.”
There have been many detractors since Kirk received his new deal but the player understands he has to prove that he’s one of the best players in his position in the NFL.
“For me, and this is kind of the approach that I take every season is: I want to be the best player that I can be for all games throughout the season, and most importantly, especially now, there is a lot of … proving that I have to do,” he declared. “Especially when you get a contract of that stature. All eyes are going to be on you, but I’m looking forward to proving my worth and I know I have so much more that I can show and that I can bring especially now being here in Jacksonville.”