There are quite a few big name players who could hit the open market in the NFL this offseason, and for the Miami Dolphins, it's clear that Christian Wilkins is their biggest pending free agent. Wilkins has turned himself into one of the top interior lineman in the league over his first five seasons with Miami, but he could be on the move if he ends up hitting the open market.

Wilkins was his dominant self once again in 2023 (65 tackles, nine sacks, 10 TFL, 23 QB Hits, 2 PD, 1 FF, 2 FR), and his nine sacks were easily a career-high. There's no doubt he's going to get paid this offseason, but whether or not it's the Dolphins who will be writing his checks remains to be seen. All cards are on the table in Miami, but it doesn't sound like they plan to franchise tag their star defensive lineman.

“While Miami's stance is that all options are on the table for defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, several league sources say he probably won't be franchise-tagged. That would put a big-time tackle who had 63 tackles and nine sacks in 2023 on the market.” – Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

Who could swoop in and steal Christian Wilkins from the Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Letting Wilkins hit the open market would be a risky decision for Miami, especially given how poorly their previous negotiations with him had gone. There's still a chance the Dolphins could find a way to work things out with him, but if they can't the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns will be lurking as possible suitors for the former Clemson star.

“Houston is intriguing here. The Texans have ample cap space, a quarterback early on a rookie deal and a playoff roster. There would be several teams in the mix, though. The Browns are always good for a splash or two, for instance. Would they strengthen an already stout defense with the versatile DT?” – Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

There's a lot to consider when it comes to Wilkins' pending free agency, and it's reasonable to wonder whether he has played his final snap for the Dolphins. If he hits the open market, there will surely be a lot of interest in him, and it may make the already difficult task of keeping him in town even more challenging for Miami's front office.