What’s Up With Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins?

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins has barely practiced for more than a week. Is he hurt? Or is this a negotiating ploy?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins defense was excellent again in Day 13 of training camp — which is all the more impressive, considering who wasn’t on the field: Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

Let’s do a little theorizing about the suddenly missing man in the middle of Miami’s’ defense.

Update on Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins

Wilkins is the heart and soul of the Dolphins — a guy you notice immediately when he’s on the field.

And a guy you notice when he’s not.

It wasn’t a surprise that Wilkins didn’t play in the preseason opener. But it is a big surprise that he has barely practiced for more than a week.

That streak included Monday. Wilkins dressed, warmed up with the team, and did some individual work early in practice. But once the Dolphins switched to team drills, Wilkins was back where he’s been almost exclusively ever since the scrimmage:

On the sidelines.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel didn’t speak to reporters Monday, so it’s hard to say what exactly is going on.

But there are three possibilities:

  1. Wilkins is dealing with some sort of minor injury.
  2. After a string of injuries to impact players already in camp, the Dolphins are making sure Wilkins doesn’t get hurt.
  3. Wilkins is holding in.

As a reminder, Wilkins is in the final year of his rookie contract, earning just over $10 million on his fifth-year option.

It’s not debatable that he’s underpaid — probably by half — but Wilkins made no waves all spring and was on the field for nearly every down the first two weeks in camp.

And then, everything changed.

It would certainly be understandable for Wilkins to make a symbolic stand, highlighting his presumed belief that the Dolphins need to get a deal done before the season starts. It’s just a bit odd that he waited until now to make that stand.

Wilkins exposed himself to injury risk for months, including in practices that weren’t even mandatory.

So why the quick change? Perhaps his patience with waiting has worn thin.

Wilkins has spoken to reporters once this preseason — nine days ago, after the team’s stadium practice in which he participated. He was asked at the time if securing an extension is still something that’s on his mind.

“I just try to focus as much on ball as possible and leave all that other stuff up to the organization and my representation and just control what I can control with my guys and with this team,” Wilkins said.

“I definitely feel like I’ve done enough and done a lot to earn a new deal and a new contract; but again, I’m just focusing on ball and improving every day and just giving my all to this organization and hopefully they’ll give their all back to me.”

That doesn’t sound like a guy about to make trouble.

Could something have changed since? Perhaps.

McDaniel next speaks to reporters Wednesday morning in Houston, ahead of the Dolphins’ joint practices with the Texans.

It’s a guarantee that McDaniel will be asked about Wilkins. It’s no guarantee we’ll get any more clarity on the situation than we have now.

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