NFL Free Agency: Highlighting the top moves on defense

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was the gem of the class, but others could really help their new squads.

Former Seattle linebacker Jordyn Brooks signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent last week.
Former Seattle linebacker Jordyn Brooks signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent last week. / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Inside linebacker

Patrick Queen signed the highest paying contract for inside linebackers and left Baltimore for archrival and divisional foe Pittsburgh. The 25-year old backer signed a three year, $41 million contract topping all of the inside linebackers to move in free agency this season. His annual average value is almost $14 million per season, but he only got the equivalent of one season fully guaranteed. This was not a very good contract when looking at the big picture. He got a small guarantee and the $14 million is not at value for a player of Queen's stature, coupled with the fact that the guarantee is so low.

Queen excelled the last two seasons in Baltimore, lined up next to fellow inside linebacker Roquan Smith who came over from Chicago. Queen got better after Smith arrived and the two made a great tandem in the 3-4 defense. Queen was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2023.

As bad a Queen's deal turned out to be, there is a big drop off to Josey Jewell's deal with the Carolina Panthers. The former Denver Bronco signed a three year $18.75 million deal, but just over $10 million is guaranteed. His deal is not that bad in terms of guaranteed money as compared to Queen's.