The Facts: When the reports surfaced of the massive deal the Jacksonville Jaguars handed Kirk, social media exploded. Kirk isn't worried about the perception that he's overpaid and believes he has the talent to take his game to the next level. "I'm very confident in my potential and my ability," Kirk said Thursday via the Associated Press. "I feel like I have so much more left in the tank to be able to show and be able to keep proving, not only to others but to myself that I'm the player I know I am."
Diehards Line:Despite never generating a 1,000-plus yard season, the Jags handed Kirk a four-year, $72 million contract with a max value of $84 million with incentives. The $18 million-per-year average puts Kirk in the top 10 of highest-paid players in the NFL, more than Mike Evans, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Lockett, Allen Robinson, Stefon Diggs and many others with more prolific careers. In 2021, Kirk had career-highs in receptions (77) and receiving yards (982), leading the Cardinals in both categories -- more than teammates ?A.J. Green? (848) and ?DeAndre Hopkins? (572), who each have more than 10,000 career receiving yards. With Hopkins injured for much of the season, it was Kirk's time to shine, and he generated three games with 90-plus yards receiving in 2021; the WR had three such games in his first three seasons combined. It's the improvement in Year 4 that the Jags see as a springboard to even bigger things for Kirk. There are signs of Kirk's burgeoning ability. He caught 74.8 percent of his targets in the 2021 season, fifth among 35 WRs with 100-plus targets. According to Next Gen Stats, he led the league in catch rate over expectation when aligned in the slot in 2021, his first season aligning in the slot on 35-plus percent of snaps (76.4 percent; the previous high was 33.6 percent in 2019). Kirk brings the diversity to line up in the slot or out wide, and the Jags plan to exploit that ability under new coach Doug Pederson. But he's going to have to play at the upper end of his ability for the Jags to return value.