Chris Grier has drawn his line in the sand with Christian Wilkins. I was completely surprised the Miami Dolphins gave defensive tackle Zach Sieler a new 3-year contract extension worth just over $38 million with $20 million in guarantees. I was surprised because I thought Christian Wilkins would get a deal done first and then see what happens with Sieler. Well, the opposite happened. Sieler deserved a new contract as he has outplayed his current contract and has been very consistent since being claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. Now, the question is, what happens to Wilkins? 

Wilkins has outplayed his rookie contract and is currently playing on the 5th year option at just over $10 million dollars, and the Dolphins do have the franchise tag they could use next year at over $20 million. The problem is other defensive tackles from the Wilkins draft class, Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Dexter Lawrence, and Jeffrey Simmons, have all gotten new deals ranging from 4 years at anywhere from $68 million to $96 million with $45 to $66 million in guarantees so the bar is set, but the question is what does Wilkins want. I don’t look at Wilkins as an elite defensive tackle right now, but he has been a solid player at his position and has gotten better every year since being drafted. Some say he would command the highest salary if he were a better pass rusher. I could care less about his pass rushing because his work in the middle of the defensive line also opens up plays for other players. Most defensive tackles don’t rush the passer that well. Those players are hard to find. Wilkins reminds me of Tim Bowens, who was a run stuffer who could clog the middle of the defense, and that’s how I look at a defensive tackle. If he can rush the passer, it’s a big bonus.  

General Manager Chris Grier has to be careful how he handles the Wilkins situation because there are other guys looking for new contracts on the horizon, like Jalen Phillips and Javeon Holland, to name a couple, as both are eligible for extensions after the season. Wilkins didn’t hold out of OTA’s like Sieler did, but he showed up and did his business and started training camp working until he decided to do an in-camp holdout, in which he can’t get fined, which was smart. I’m sure both sides have had a lot of talks, but there has to be a compromise somewhere here. Frankly, I feel like Sieler got lowballed in his new deal because I feel like he could have gotten more if he hit the open market after the season. Wilkins isn’t going to take a low-ball offer. He is looking for the best deal for him, as he should because it’s his first chance at a big payday. Wilkins sees his peers from his draft class get their money, and he wants his. People here in New York are wondering why the Buffalo Bills gave Oliver an extension and drafted four spots ahead of Wilkins when he hasn’t exactly lived up to his draft hype as the number 9 pick overall. Wilkins has been the better player, and it hasn’t been close. 

One thing going against Wilkins is the Dolphins don’t have a history of giving defensive tackles; they drafted a second contract, as Omar Kelly pointed out in the DolphinsTalk Podcast last week. He said the last one they gave a second contract was Paul Soliai, and the Dolphins franchised tag him twice, I believe, and lowball him on a two-year contract. That is probably Grier’s stance with history since he has been part of the franchise for over 20 years. Things could get ugly with this situation. It’s possible they are far apart, and Grier could get calls with offers for Wilkins. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Grier must realize Wilkins is a good player, and he must give him a reasonable offer that is good for both sides if this situation isn’t handled well, then the other players, who are up for extensions in the future, will take notice of this, and it could be a bigger problem.