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Christian Wilkins’ motivation “comes from within, not a dollar amount”

Mike Florio and Chris Simms explore the ways in which incorporating Tua Tagovailoa’s jiu-jitsu training into offseason practices is beneficial for the Dolphins.

Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is scheduled to play the 2023 season under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. He wants a long-term extension, and the Dolphins want to get him on a long-term extension.

Wilkins makes clear, though, that money is not his motivation.

“I’m always motivated and motivation comes from within, not a dollar amount,” Wilkins said, via Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post. “But it’s just my drive to be the best and be my best. No dollar changes that, changes my mindset.”

Wilkins is scheduled to make $10.7 million this season after making $4.9 million last season.

He totaled 98 tackles, 3.5 sacks, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and fumble recovery in 2022. His 290 tackles since entering the league are more than any other defensive tackle except Cameron Heyward, who has 300.

Wilkins grudgingly agreed last season was his best thus far but added that his best is yet to come.

“I guess you could say [it was my best season], but it won’t be my best,” Wilkins said. “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.”

The Giants already have signed Dexter Lawrence to a four-year, $90 million extension. Lawrence was drafted four picks before the Dolphins took Wilkins.

“That’s my fat little brother, so I was excited about him,” Wilkins said. “It’s just good to see the growth of the game and clearly how much D-line play, especially interior, means to teams.

“It’s good for the guys that come after us. I’m a big believer in doing right by the game, doing things right and paying it forward for those guys coming after you regardless of whether it’s a dollar, whether it’s just doing things the right way, someone they can look up to. I’m just big on respecting the game.”

Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier and coach Mike McDaniel have called getting Wilkins signed to an extension as a priority for the team.

They continue talks with Wilkins’ agent, David Mulugheta.

“I let my agent handle all of that,” Wilkins said. “There is a reason he’s hired.”