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#pounditTuesday, July 5, 2022

NFL teams annoyed with 1 WR for resetting market

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Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; The NFL shield logo is seen at midfield before the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The market for NFL wide receivers has been scorching hot this offseason. That is a great thing for players, but it has forced some teams to make very difficult decisions with their most talented players. Are the Jacksonville Jaguars to blame?

One NFL executive and one assistant coach told Jeff Howe of The Athletic this week that the contract Christian Kirk signed with the Jaguars is the one that really reset the wide receiver market. Kirk, who never eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, signed a four-year, $72 million deal with Jacksonville that includes $37 million guaranteed.

“It’s (Christian) Kirk’s fault,” an assistant coach told Howe. “What happened to Kirk is 100 percent the issue. Players of more worth than Christian Kirk are going to be demanding a lot more money, and you’re going to have to do it.”

The $18 million average annual salary for Kirk placed him among the 10 highest-paid receivers in football at the time he signed the deal. He was then surpassed by Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs, who were undoubtedly licking their chops when the Jaguars gave Kirk all that money. Kirk has never made a Pro Bowl and has just 17 touchdown catches in four seasons.

“How much Kirk got really vaulted the money,” an executive said. “That was huge for (Adams and Hill) to get those historic deals. It put more pressure on those clubs to make sure they meet those needs.”

Kirk is just 25, so perhaps the best is yet to come for him. Still, you can understand why his deal gave far better players so much leverage.

Several more top receivers are seeking new contracts this offseason. All can make the argument that they deserve far more than Kirk. They should thank the Jaguars.

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