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Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is confident that his best season is yet to come

Did Christian Wilkins peak in his fourth season in the NFL?

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins hit the reset button after the 2018 season and chose Christian Wilkins as one of the rebuild’s first bricks with a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Wilkins logged 18 tackles more than any other defensive tackle in 2022 and disrupted opposing offenses by leading the league in PFF’s ‘stops’ metric, which notes a tackle that results in a failure for the offense. He closed his fourth season with 58 stops, 11 more than DeForest Buckner in second place.

The two-time first-team All-American while with the Clemson Tigers scored his first-career touchdown against the New York Jets in 2021, but that doesn’t change the fact that 2022 was his top season after setting career bests in total tackles (98), forced fumbles (2), passes defended (6) and stuffs (17.5).

“I guess you could say that, but it won’t be my best,” Wilkins said when asked if 2022 was his best season in the NFL. “That’s the goal and that’s my mindset every time I work out, every time I study film, every time I eat and do that whole process. My mindset is to always be the best.

“I’m never a finished product. I didn’t make every play I was supposed to make last year. Regardless of how productive I was, there was so much more out there for me.”

After four seasons of perfecting a defense developed by former head coach Brian Flores, Wilkins is now adjusting to some new concepts under 40-year coaching vet Vic Fangio, who the Dolphins signed as the league’s highest-paid defensive coordinator.

“We’ve got some good stuff, we’ve got some good players on the defense,” Wilkins said. “We’ve got to continue to grind every day, and learn it as fast as we can, so that way come minicamp, come training camp; we’re just flying around playing fast, not really thinking. We’re all still learning it, so there are going to be mistakes in that, but guys are working hard to get it right and playing our butts off so we love to see that.”

Wilkins played his butt off for four seasons and is set to have a cap hit of $10,753,000 on his fifth-year option, according to Over The Cap. Looking at a possible extension, the Dolphins received $13.6 million of cap space after designating cornerback Byron Jones as a June 1 roster cut.

General manager Chris Grier publicly said he would like to ink Wilkins to a contract extension and that cap space could be the piece needed to push negotiations to the finish line.

“I let my agent handle all of that,” Wilkins said. “He has a job to do. He’s one of the best in the business so I’m putting it in his hands, controlling what I can control. Coming out here every day and leading and playing ball.

“I’m always motivated and motivation comes from within, 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.”