Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins’ final on-screen comments of Hard Knocks: In Season included a lot of “yous” and not a lot of “wes.”
Wilkins, a Dolphins team captain whose contract expires in eight weeks, got in front of his defensive teammates in the losing locker room at Arrowhead Stadium late Saturday and didn’t exactly say, “Let’s run this back!”
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Here were Wilkins’ comments, as captured by Hard Knocks, in full:
“I just want to say man I love y’all boys. And helluva effort all year. I know that this wasn’t the way we thought the season would end, but I’m proud of all of us. All year, the way we fought. This was the most fun I’ve had in the league since I’ve been in it.
“I love y’all boys. Y’all made this year special for me, and I just want to say thank y’all. Love y’all. Keep fighting. Remember this feeling when you’re training in the offseason. Take this s— with you for real. And have the right mindset when you come back next year and just be ready to kill everything. Love y’all.”
Wilkins’ remarks set off a bit of panic among Dolphins supporters on social media. Wilkins is a fan favorite and the heart and soul of Miami’s defense.
He also intends to get what he believes he’s owed in free agency.
Wilkins over the summer turned down what Dolphins general manager Chris Grier categorized to reporters Monday as a market-value contract extension offer.
“Christian and I actually had a really good conversation today,” Grier said. “I was very happy for him. He bet on himself after a summer of negotiations where we made a couple offers and one we felt very good about, was fair, and he and his representation said as much, but we couldn’t close that gap at the end.
“So he bet on himself, and it paid off for him. I’m very happy for him. So we’ll stay in communication and see where this ends up, but he earned the right to be a free agent. Again, I’m happy for him. We drafted him here, developed him here, and he’s the type of person we’re looking for. So we’ll see what happens.”
So the question isn’t if the Dolphins want Wilkins back, but if they can afford him.
Per Spotrac, Wilkins’ estimated market value is $81 million over four years. The $20.2 million AAV would rank seventh among NFL defensive tackles.
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The Dolphins could elect to franchise tag him, but that estimated 2024 cap charge of $19.7 million would further complicate a balance sheet that is already tens of millions of dollars in the red.
Wilkins in 2023 set career highs in sacks (nine), pressures (30), and quarterback hits (23).