Steelers Urged to Pursue Projected $81 Million Star

pittsburgh steelers

Getty The Pittsburgh Steelers were urged to pursue Christian Wilkins after he wasn't franchise tagged by the Dolphins

The Pittsburgh Steelers were not one of the teams that spent March 5 agonizing over what to do with their franchise tag for the 2024 NFL season, but one decision that was made official on March 5 could have an impact on their future.

The Miami Dolphins chose not to use the franchise tag on Christian Wilkins, which give the star defensive tackle the chance to test free agency this offseason.

The move came as a surprise as Wilkins has been a standout player for the Dolphins over the last few years and they weren’t using the tag on anybody else.

Now teams around the league will have the chance to try to add some star power to their roster.

Steelers Nation’s Stuart Miller-Davis believes that Wilkins hitting free agency provides the Steelers with an opportunity they should capitalize on this offseason.

Wilkins’ 5 Strong Years With the Dolphins

Wilkins has been a solid starter for the Dolphins since they picked him 13th overall in the 2019 draft.

His rookie year saw him make 56 tackles and add in a couple of sacks.

However, it was his third year in the league where he really stepped up his game.

He made 89 tackles in 2021. 10 of them were for a loss. He also added 4.5 sacks and 17 pressures.

The following year he reached 98 total tackles with 16 for a loss and also had 15 pressures.

In 2023, Wilkins was once again a nuisance for opposing offenses and really hit his stride as a pass rusher.

His tackle numbers came down, but he was still able to reach 10 tackles for a loss.

As a pass rusher, Wilkins had 9 sacks and 30 pressures.

After proving that he can be an asset against both the run and pass, Wilkins is sure to get plenty of attention when he hits free agency.

He just might not be the right move for the Steelers in 2024.

Would the Move Make Sense for the Steelers?

At first glance, signing Wilkins seems like a great idea for the Steelers.

They need reinforcements on their defensive line for the 2024 season after a disappointing  2023 from Larry Ogunjobi could convince the team to move on from him.

They also need to start planning for the future of their D-line. Cameron Heyward is going to be 35 years old during the 2024 season and spent last season fighting through a major groin injury. Next season could be his last in the league.

The team needs to start making plans for how they’re going to replace him.

However, Wilkins might not be the answer.

First, there’s the cost. Sportrac currently has Wilkins projected to make just under $81 million dollars over four years on his next contract and that could actually be low.

It would be a lot to spend at a position that isn’t necessarily an urgent need for a teaam that doesn’t have a ton of cap space.

The other issue is actually Wilkins’ age.

The star DT has only played in the NFL for five seasons, but he’s already 28 years old.

That means that he could start showing signs of decline before a four-year deal would come to an end and even if he doesn’t, the Steelers would probably still find themselves looking to replace a star DT again in four years.

There’s no question that Wilkins would make the Steelers a better team for the 2024 season,  but this move seems like a luxury that the team simply can’t afford right now.

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