June 13, 2024

 

Christian Wilkins Bears Rumors NFL RumorsThe Chicago Bears’ defense saw notable improvements in 2023, particularly following the acquisition of Montez Sweat via a trade with Washington. But according to at least one Bears insider, in order to advance, they will have to prioritize locating their “missing piece”—a three-technique defensive tackle—for 2024.

When breaking down the Bears’ 2024 offseason schedule, ESPN colleagues Courtney Cronin, a Bears insider, and others highlighted the 3-tech position as the team’s “under-the-radar priority” for the upcoming year. On March 13, when the new league year starts, Cronin also provided them with a list of elite players they should think about signing in free agency.

“A disruptive three-technique defensive tackle is the missing component that can elevate the Bears’ defense from good to elite,” wrote Cronin. “Chicago is pleased with Gervon Dexter’s rookie development. While that may be the role in which he ultimately earns more time, the Bears should test the market for Justin Madubuike of Baltimore, Chris Jones of Kansas City, or Christian Wilkins of Miami in free agency.”

Five-time All-Pro Jones will turn thirty before the next season, but he is still a very good player. Furthermore, after recording 13 sacks in the last campaign, which won him Pro Bowl and All-Pro acclaim, Baltimore is unlikely to let the 26-year-old Madubuike depart. Therefore, if the Bears are trying to enhance the middle of their defensive line in free agency, Wilkins may be the most alluring choice out of the three.

When March arrives, Christian Wilkins might be among the top free agents available. In addition to 10 tackles for loss, 23 quarterback hits, and a career-high nine sacks, the 2019 first-round pick concluded his sixth season. For a third season running, he participated in every game, which made him the perfect blend of disruptiveness and availability.

Although the Dolphins would probably like to keep Wilkins on their payroll, they may not be able to do so given that they need to free up approximately $51.9 million in salary space in order to turn a profit before the next league year begins in March. Prior to the regular season, they had also attempted to work out an extension with Wilkins; but, during training camp, Wilkins staged a hold-in, and the process ended without a new agreement.

Wilkins ultimately used a $15.4 million fifth-year option to play out the 2023 season.

Stated differently, Wilkins seems to have a good chance of becoming a free agent. Would the Bears be willing to pay top cash to sign him, even if he were available?

The Bears are predicted to have roughly $46.87 million in cap space in 2024, but Over the Cap speculates that they will use a portion of that amount to franchise-tag or extend star cornerback Jaylon Johnson in order to keep him on the team. The money might run out quickly because they have a few other needs—wide receivers, offensive line, and center—that they would like to cross off their list with free agent investments.

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