Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is holding out from practices amid ongoing contract negotiations with the franchise, coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday.
Wilkins is entering the fifth year of his rookie deal with the Dolphins this fall, and he “made it clear” to the team that he wants a new contract. So, while he is still actually on the sidelines at Dolphins’ practices, he is not participating in any team drills.
“Christian is such a good player, such an important person in the locker room, who has made it clear he feels that his play is deserving of a contract,” McDaniel said, . “We would agree, as the Miami Dolphins organization. Henceforth, we are in negotiations. As a result, he has not participated in team [drills]. When he next participates, that’ll be up to him.”
The Dolphins first selected Wilkins out of Clemson with the No. 13 overall pick in 2019. He’s been a consistent starter for the Dolphins since entering the league, and he was a team captain in each of the last two seasons. He had a career-high 98 tackles last season.
Wilkins is entering the fifth year of his initial four-year, $15.4 million deal. He is set to earn $10.7 million this season, and he will become an unrestricted free agent next year.
Though Wilkins isn’t participating, McDaniel said he has been in “constant” contact with him and he’s “comfortable” with the current situation.
“This is part of the business that teams are dealing with,” McDaniel said.
Specifics about Wilkins’ contract negotiations are not known, though there have been some large defensive tackle deals in recent months throughout the league. The New York Jets signed Quinnen Williams to a four-year, $96 million deal this past offseason, and Dexter Lawrence, Daron Payne and Jeffrey Simmons all received four-year extensions worth at least $90 million.
It’s unclear if Wilkins’ holdout would extend into the season at this point. The Dolphins, who went 9-8 last season and made the playoff for the first time since 2016, will open their season on Sept. 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers.