Top Free Agent Defensive Linemen: Elite Interior Rushers Chris Jones and Christian Wilkins Lead the Way

As the 2024 NFL free agency period nears, it's time to look at key defensive linemen. Will Chris Jones or Christian Wilkins sign with new teams?

It is now time to assess defensive linemen — more specifically — interior rushers who are NFL free agents. There is a great group of players whose futures with their respective organizations are to be determined over the next few weeks.

2024 Top Free Agent Defensive Linemen

The following ranking is from Pro Football Network’s NFL Analyst Dallas Robinson.

1) Chris Jones
2) Christian Wilkins
3) Justin Madubuike
4) Leonard Williams
5) DJ Reader
6) Fletcher Cox
7) Grover Stewart
8) Denico Autry
9) Sheldon Rankins
10) Javon Kinlaw

Chris Jones and Christian Wilkins Headline Group of Interior Rushers Available

During the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade to celebrate back-to-back titles, Chris Jones screamed into the microphone, “I ain’t going nowhere, baby!”

If you remember, Jones did miss the Chiefs’ season-opening loss this past season against the Detroit Lions because his team and Kansas City could not mutually agree on a contract. Weirdly enough — Jones was watching the game from upstairs in a suite at Arrowhead Stadium.

It’s not rocket science that Jones, drafted in 2016, wants to be one of the highest-paid defensive tackles. And after winning a Vince Lombardi Trophy in consecutive seasons, he certainly has a case to make.

If the Chiefs elect to give Jones the franchise tag, it would cost them approximately $32.16 million — a 20% jump over his 2023 salary cap number of $26.808 million.

Similar to Baltimore’s Justin Madubuike — closing the 2023 season with a team-leading 13 sacks — the Miami Dolphins’ Christian Wilkins will seek a large contract this offseason.

The former Clemson product, selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, reeled in a career-best nine sacks this past season.

“He (Wilkins) bet on himself after a summer of negotiations where we made a couple offers and one we felt very good about, was fair, and he and his representation said as much, but we couldn’t close the gap at the end.

“So he bet on himself, and it paid off for him. I’m very happy for him. So we’ll stay in communication and see where this ends up, but he earned the right to be a free agent,” Dolphins GM Chris Grier said during an end-of-season press conference on Jan. 15.

KEEP READING: 2024 Top Free Agent Interior Offensive Linemen 

A veteran such as Leonard Williams of the Seattle Seahawks disrupts quarterbacks on a consistent basis, showing no time of slowing down soon.

With longtime HC Pete Carroll now gone, if Seattle doesn’t re-sign Williams or give the former New York Jet and Giant the franchise tag (which may be a bit pricey), it’s possible the veteran DT will land with a contending team in either the AFC or NFC.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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