The Jacksonville Jaguars already had their work cut out for the offseason, and the 2023 campaign isn't over yet. Although general manager Trent Baalke has bolstered several position groups over the last two years, there are still a handful of units that could use improvements. One of them is the interior defensive line.
The Jags have a pair of edge rushers in Travon Walker and Josh Allen but they often struggle to bring the heat from inside. The Bleacher Report staff suggests they fix that issue by signing defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in free agency.
B/R argues that Jacksonville can be aggressive because Trevor Lawrence is still on his rookie deal and his fifth-year option gives them enough of a cushion to make a splash signing.
"Trevor Lawrence has one more cheap year on his rookie deal before the fifth-year option kicks in followed by his first big extension.
The Jags could move the money around now to clear the way for a big catch like Wilkins. He would be a force-multiplier up front with his ability to win on the interior and force offensive lines to send help his way."
Wilkins is No. 7 on Pro Football Focus' list of free agents. A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, the former Clemson Tiger is having a banner season, posting a career-best eight sacks after tallying 3.5 the year prior.
Although Wilkins is listed as a defensive tackle, he's more of a 3-4 defensive lineman, which makes him a good fit in Jacksonville. He excels at stopping the run and is among the top interior defenders when it comes to getting after the quarterback, posting career bests for pass-rush win rate, pressure rate, and quarterback hits in 2023.
The Jaguars could most definitely use help to bring pressure. Outside linebacker Josh Allen is having a highly productive season and Travon Walker has made strides in Year 2. However, they need a third pass rusher to round out their rotation.
As great as Allen has been in 2023, the Jaguars need to take some of his load off his shoulders. He's currently responsible for 27.6 percent of their pressures, the sixth-highest figure among pass rushers in the league. By adding someone of Wilkins' caliber, Allen and the whole front seven could turn out to be more productive.
Signing Christian Wilkins may not be feasible for the Jaguars
Christian Wilkins would most definitely be welcome in Jacksonville. However, there are couple hurdles that may prevent the Jaguars from going after him. The first one is that they've already committed a significant amount of cap space to Roy Robertson-Harris and DaVon Hamilton.
Both Roberson-Harris and Hamilton got long-term deals in free agency, and they play the same position as Wilkins. That could make the team's brass wary of forking out more money at the position. Also, the Jaguars may prioritize taking care of other issues in the offseason.
At the top of their list, Jacksonville needs to bolster their interior offensive line. As noted before, they also need to add a third edge rusher. Last but not least, they'll have a decision to make at wide receiver.
Calvin Ridley is set to become a free agent and the front office has to decide whether they'll give him an extension or let him hit the open market. If they take the latter route, they'll need to find his replacement in free agency or the draft. Either way, wide receiver will also be on their to-do list in the offseason.
Make no mistake, Christian Wilkins would be an excellent addition to the Jaguars' interior defensive need. However, acquiring him may not be achievable based on the number of holes they must fix.