4 teams that shouldn't hesitate to sign Christian Wilkins in free agency

Christian Wilkins is poised to become an unrestricted free agent. Which teams should pursue the defensive star?

After five years with the Dolphins, Christian Wilkins has his eyes on a new destination in 2024
After five years with the Dolphins, Christian Wilkins has his eyes on a new destination in 2024 / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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1. Detroit Lions

The previous three teams mentioned on this list are all expected to be better this upcoming season than they were in 2023. The Cardinals have nowhere to go but up. The Bears were much better in the second half of the year and have the draft capital and cap money to make even more significant strides, and the Texans are set to take the next step to true contender status in Ryans' and Stroud's second year.

The Detroit Lions are much closer to being championship contenders, having come within a disastrous second half against the 49ers of being the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl. Dan Campbell's group defied the odds all season, and with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson returning to direct an attack that was one of the most difficult to stop in the league (and has nearly all of its major pieces already under contract for next year), the best way for Lions general manager Brad Holmes to address his team's needs is by bolstering his defense.

Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is already a star, and linemate Alim McNeill was also stellar on the interior. Defensive tackle Benito Jones, though, was a liability, and the hole he leaves as a restricted free agent is the clearest spot that Detroit could upgrade. Slotting Wilkins in next to Hutchinson and McNeill would be almost unfair.

The Lions were behind only the Bears in rushing yards allowed, but Wilkins, who had nine sacks and 23 quarterback hits last season, would add a pass-rushing element that Jones and his one sack just didn't provide. Good luck to opposing offenses, who might need to regularly operate with a tight end and running back left in to protect their quarterback.

Wilkins would make an enormous difference wherever he lands, but no team would benefit more from adding him than Detroit. The Lions have $54 million in cap space, and they are one destination that could actually challenge for a Super Bowl next year. Wilkins is the kind of signing that could be the difference in celebrating in blue and silver confetti or watching another real opportunity slip away.

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