Rival NFL official has nothing but good things to say about ‘complete player’ Christian Wilkins

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Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Wilkins was recently praised by one rival NFL official, just as the Miami Dolphins defensive tackle is seeking a lucrative contract extension.

“Complete player: versatile, rugged, tough, high motor,” the high-ranking official told ESPN. “He was their best defensive player when we played them.”

The comments came as part of a survey ranking the best defensive tackles in the league for this season, where Wilkins just missed out on the top 10 and landed in the honorable mention category.

He’ll be looking to improve that status in his upcoming fifth NFL season, all played with the Dolphins, who selected him in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft (No. 13 overall out of Clemson University).

Having played four seasons, Wilkins is eligible for a contract extension, which one prominent agent said could reach $20 million or more per season. To his credit, the 27-year-old reportedly doesn’t appear likely to hold out and continues to diligently work on his craft.

“I’m always motivated, and motivation comes from within,” Wilkins said during OTAs earlier this year. “Not a dollar amount, but it’s just my drive to be the best and be my best. No dollar changes that, changes my mindset. Whether something gets done or not, my approach is always the same.”

Defensive tackles have been cashing in recently all around the NFL, with Jeffery Simmons of the Tennessee Titans, Javon Hargrave of the San Francisco 49ers, Dexter Lawrence of the New York Giants and Daron Payne of the Washington Commanders among the players in the ESPN top 10 list who landed very lucrative deals this offseason.

Wilkins has put himself in line for a big payday with 11.5 sacks, 33 tackles for loss, 27 quarterback hits and 290 combined tackles in his first four seasons. His 98 combined tackles in 2022 were the most by an NFL defensive lineman since 1994.

The Dolphins reportedly are negotiating with Wilkins on a contract extension but are also likely curious to see how their courtship of running back Dalvin Cook plays out. The Miami native reportedly is not willing to accept the Dolphins’ contract offer despite being linked to them since he was let go by the Minnesota Vikings in early June.

The Dolphins seem poised to make the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since the 2000 and 2001 NFL seasons, and having one of the best defensive tackles in all of the NFL happy and secure with a new contract would surely boost that cause.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.