Miami Dolphins can only watch as DT salaries climb: What Williams deal means for Wilkins

Dec 11, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is sacked by
Dec 11, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is sacked by / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

While the Miami Dolphins continue to drag their feet as it relates to defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, other teams are locking up their players and driving up the cost.

The most recent is New York Jets DT Quinnen Williams who is finally being inked to an extension that will pay him upwards of $96 million over the next four years with $66 million guaranteed according to reports.

His contract comes on the heels of several others this past off-season.

Jeffrey Simmons of the Titans received a huge extension as well as Commanders DT Daron Payne. The 49ers extended Javon Hargrave and the Bills did as well with Ed Oliver. All the while, Miami has publicly said they want to work out a new contract with Christian Wilkins but so far have not.

Wilkins is playing on the 5th year option so he has no leverage for a new deal but in 2024 he will hit free agency and all the Dolphins can do is apply the franchise tag at best and thus pay him more.

Wilkins is not going to likely command a contract as big as the others who have all been Pro Bowl players except Oliver. Wilkins, however, plays as disrusptive.

With the top DT's now sitting with new contracts that ranged from $50 to $85 million in guaranteed money over 4 years, the question is where does Wilkins fit into that spectrum? In reality, he should be penciled in around $55-60 guaranteed on a deal that pays in the $70-80 range, at least that should be the start.

Williams' contract is the 2nd highest for any DT in NFL history and Wilkins' deal should be less but it would have been cheaper back in March or even early May.

Wilkins not having a new deal may change now that Williams has his contract in hand and with Williams now locked down, there is more of an opportunity for Wilkins to tell Miami, this is where we are at and what I should be getting.

If the Dolphins do not opt to extend Wilkins this year then they can expect to pay more to retain him next year just based on annual rise in contracts. A non-extension in 2023 could be a sign that Miami really doesn't have the interest in extending him and we might want to start expecting Wilkins to leave via FA next year.

Miami put themselves in this position by not extending his contract so it will be interesting to see where this goes now that the last top DT has a new deal. Wilkins is in a good position and the ball is clearly in Miami's court.