2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Christian Wilkins
Jasen Vinlove - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Christian Wilkins

by - Senior Writer -

One of the bigger names in free agency when it comes to the defensive side is Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins. He is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agents should he hit the open market.

If Wilkins is made available, the Bears are expected to look into signing him, as he would bring a much-needed physical presence to the defensive line that this team hasn't had since Akiem Hicks.

A little bit older than some free agents linked to the Bears, Wilkins is still 28 years old and has played the past five seasons with the Dolphins. About to enter his sixth year, many expect he will garner somewhere between 17-20 million per season, which is a steep price but one the Bears could afford should they see the fit.

Throughout most of the season, the Dolphins looked like serious Superbowl contenders until the injuries got to them late in the season. The defensive injuries especially hurt them, but Wilkins wasn't one of them, as he went on to play in all 17 games last season. During those games, Wilkins picked up 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks, 23 QB hits, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two pass breakups (17 starts). The sack number would've led the Bears, so you can see why Chicago may go after him as a fit for their defense.

Although a very good player his entire career, the former No. 13 overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft is coming off his best season, which is the main reason why he will be a highly sought-after guy. He has been the anchor to the Dolphins defense the past several seasons and has thrived at stopping the run just as much as getting after the QB.

After picking up 11.5 sacks in his first four seasons, he had a career-high nine last season to nearly double his career output. The sack numbers alone had him in rare company as only five other DTs had nine sacks this season, with Justin Madubike leading the way with 13. Madubike is also viewed as a potential Free Agent target for the Bears, but sources close to the situation expect him to re-sign with the Baltimore Ravens, which is why Wilkins could be the main focus.

Finding out that the Dolphins won't be using the Franchise tag on him is a shock, especially when you look at how much that defense struggled last season. Losing him would crush that defense, and unless they figure out a way to resign him, the Dolphins will have a major hole to address on defense.

Although there are other needs to fill on this defense that are more important than the DT position, having Justin Jones hit free agency does open a starting spot next to Andrew Billings on the defensive line. Guys like Zacch Pickens are in-house names that could take over that spot, but he isn't anywhere near the talent that Wilkins has.

Unless they can re-sign Jones, Chicago will need to add a veteran to that defense, and Wilkins makes the most sense. This defense played at a top-five level in the second half of the season, and should this move to happen; you are looking at potentially the best defense in the entire NFL. That says a lot when they were the worst defense two seasons ago.

With the Bears looking for a dominant DT to anchor the middle of that line, Wilkins is just the type of player Matt Eberflus is looking for. Wilkins is stout both against the run and generating interior pressure on the quarterback, which the Bears struggled with until Montez Sweat arrived. The thought of adding him to this defense and the rest of the pieces is scary, as opposing coaches would have nightmares figuring out how to solve that defense.

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