Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins bet on himself by playing out the final year of his rookie deal instead of signing a long-term deal ahead of the 2023 season — all signs point to a major payday quickly approaching.
In Friday’s 34-13 victory against the New York Jets, Wilkins delivered his second two-sack performance, anchoring a defense averaging 3.5 sacks per game. He got to Carolina Panthers’ rookie quarterback Bryce Young twice on Oct. 15.
Wilkins entered Week 12 with 4.5 sacks on the year — matching the career-high he set back in 2021. The 2019 first-round pick, with linebacker Jaelan Phillips, leads the team with 6.5 sacks each. Vic Fangio’s defense ranks third in the NFL with 38 sacks and features six players with at least four sacks.
“I think our defense was overlooked for a while,” coach Mike McDaniel said following Friday’s win. “On top of that, they didn’t start exactly the way they wanted to this season, but it’s going to build. I think since Week Eight, up until this game, we’ve been number one in the league in defense stopping the run and I think that epitomizes the whole team.
“What they’re doing is what we’ve identified as what we want to do and that’s progress and continue to get better as the season progresses.”
Miami now has the 3rd most sacks (38) and 2nd most QB hits (86) in the NFL.— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) November 25, 2023
They’re also 6th allowing just 3.8 yards per rush (7th in RYPG at 92.8).
McDaniel added that Phillips suffered an Achilles injury late in the game against the Jets.
Wilkins, with pass rushers Andrew Van Ginkel and Emmanuel Ogbah, must continue recent momentum through the season’s final stretch in order to fill the void left by losing one of the team’s top pass rushers.