The Jaguars selected D.J. Chark at No. 61 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, adding another body to a wideout group that already included Lee, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, The Associated Press reports.
Jacksonville let Allen Robinson leave for Chicago and later released Allen Hurns, but the team nonetheless finds itself with quite a crowd at wide receiver. Lee led the Jags in targets (96) last season and is the favorite to do the same in 2018, after re-signing in March on a four-year, $34 million contract that includes $16.5 million guaranteed, per OverTheCap. However, there's no denying that he'll have serous competition for Blake Bortles' attention in a run-heavy offense, as the team also made a significant investment in Moncrief and now has a trio of promising young receivers. Furthermore, the Jaguars signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins to replace Marcedes Lewis as the starting tight end, hinting at a desire to get more out of the position in the passing game.
With fellow free agent Allen Robinson headed to Chicago and Allen Hurns a candidate to be released, the Jaguars unsurprisingly ramped up their interest in retaining Lee, a 2014 second-round pick who averaged four catches for 52 yards over 30 games the past two years. He only had six touchdowns and two gains of 40 or more yards in that stretch, but he'll at least give Blake Bortles a dependable target on short and intermediate routes while second-year receivers Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole provide speed downfield. Jacksonville's decision to spend big on guard Andrew Norwell instead of Robinson suggests the team will stick with a run-heavy approach led by Leonard Fournette. The circumstances will make it difficult for Lee to take a big step forward from what he did the past two years.
After the Jaguars lost Allen Robinson (knee) to a torn ACL in Week 1, Lee became the de facto No. 1 option and enjoyed a relatively productive season in what was a conservative passing attack. Lee was targeted 96 times across his 14 games, just nine fewer than he saw in 2016, when he appeared in all 16 contests. Lee will be a free agent this offseason but the prevailing belief is that the Jaguars would like to bring him back at the right price. The question is whether another franchise in need of a playmaker at receiver will be willing to pay up for Lee's services.
Lee brought in three of six targets for 28 yards in Sunday's 45-42 AFC divisional-round win over the Steelers.
Lee's reception total, modest as it was, still paced the Jaguars' wideouts on the afternoon. Blake Bortles also hit running back T.J. Yeldon on three occasions and no other pass catcher more than twice, so it was a generally underwhelming afternoon for Jacksonville's air attack overall. Lee and his fellow receivers will likely need much more productive efforts in next Sunday's AFC championship showdown in New England in order for the Jags to have any chance of upsetting the Patriots.
Lee (ankle) rushed once for five yards and failed to bring in his only target in Sunday's 10-3 AFC wild-card win over the Bills.
Both Lee and fellow starter Allen Hurns were shut out of the receiving end of the stat sheet altogether on an afternoon when Blake Bortles could only muster 87 passing yards. Notably, Lee saw rookies Dede Westbrook and Leonard Fournette gobble up 13 targets between them, a scenario that will likely need to be at least partly tweaked in next Sunday's AFC divisional-round road tilt against the Steelers. Lee brought in two of four targets for 49 yards in a Week 5 defeat of Pittsburgh, accounting for over half of Bortles' 95 yards through the air that afternoon.
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