Raiders To Add DT Christian Wilkins

Following Chris Jones‘ decision to stay with the Chiefs, the Raiders will pick up this year’s top defensive free agent remaining. Christian Wilkins is heading to Las Vegas.

Like Jones, Wilkins will benefit from betting on himself in a contract year. The Raiders are giving the former Dolphins first-rounder a four-year, $110MM deal,’s Ian Rapoport reports. Wilkins will receive a whopping $84.75MM guaranteed to help the Raiders’ defensive line.

In terms of full guarantees, the Raiders are giving the 2019 first-rounder $57.5MM, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. But Wilkins’ 2026 salary ($27.25MM) locks in on Day 3 of the 2025 league year, giving him the kind of year-out security Jones scored from the Chiefs. This effectively makes that above $84.75MM the full guarantee number. Jones and Wilkins’ deals finish off a transformative week for the D-tackle market.

To illustrate where this market has gone over the past four days, Quinnen Williams‘ $66MM in guarantees topped the field entering March. Justin Madubuike soon scored $75MM guaranteed on his Ravens extension, and Jones has a practical guarantee of $95.3MM. Wilkins, despite the Dolphins being reluctant to pay him in line with Williams last year, will outdo the Jets performer in AAV and guarantees.

At $27.5MM per year, Wilkins is now attached to the third-highest D-tackle AAV — behind only Jones and Aaron Donald. Despite committing to the Raiders for just four years (as opposed to Jones’ five-year Chiefs pledge), Jones will see his guarantees spike to this rare place. Only four edge rushers match the guarantee Wilkins just scored with the Raiders, illustrating the value of hitting the market at the right time.

After the Raiders struggled for 20 years to assemble a quality defense, Patrick Graham’s unit did take a step forward in 2023. The Raiders ranked ninth in scoring defense — their first top-15 ranking since 2002 — but the team was light on D-line investments. That will change, as Wilkins joins Maxx Crosby to anchor the Raiders’ pass rush.

The Texans and Vikings were believed to be among the teams in on Wilkins, and the Dolphins made a futile attempt to keep him at the 11th hour. But Miami does not reside in a good cap situation. The team offered Wilkins a deal north of the $17MM-per-year point in 2023; Wilkins moved to a higher NFL tax bracket in free agency. Wilkins is coming off his best year as a pass rusher. After totaling 11.5 sacks over his first four seasons, the Clemson alum registered nine last season. He has also been one of the NFL’s top run-defending DTs in recent years, ranking in the top two in ESPN’s run stop win rate metric in 2021 and ’22. At 28, Wilkins brings upside on two fronts to Vegas.

The Raiders ranked 21st against the run last season. Bilal Nichols, Adam Butler and John Jenkins are free agents, leaving Las Vegas with more work to do here. But Wilkins will become the team’s centerpiece D-lineman. The Raiders will hope their latest Clemson investment pays off alongside Crosby for the long haul.

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