Raiders’ Christian Wilkins Sends Strong Message Amid Contract Criticism

The Las Vegas Raiders made a big splash in free agency when they gave defensive tackle Christian Wilkins a four-year, $110 million contract. However, not everybody has been on board with the money the team gave Wilkins.

ESPN recently gave the Raiders a “D” grade for their offseason and largely pointed to the Wilkins contract as a reason for the low grade. Bleacher Report also predicted that the team would regret the contract. For his part, Wilkins is doing everything he can to make sure he’s not a free agent flop for Las Vegas.

“I’ve come a long way definitely since my rookie year in this league,” Wilkins said, per a June 20 column from “I’ve seen so much, I’ve done a lot, and knowing that and just seeing how far I’ve come always just keeps me hungry. I’m just always trying to be my best, and now you kind of see what experience and wisdom does for you because then now when certain things go on, you’re not rattled, or you can impart that wisdom into a younger guys. I’m just blessed to be in the position I’m in and to be able to do that.”

Head coach Antonio Pierce has said that Wilkins has been one of the first people in the Raiders’ building every day so he’s clearly putting in a lot of work.

Christian Wilkins Gets High Praise From Teammates

Regardless of what the media thinks of Wilkins’ contract, he’s been impressing his teammates. Cornerback Nate Hobbs has been in awe of the defensive tackle’s athleticism.

“Christian running to the ball, he’s a freak of nature,” Hobbs said. “He’s 300 some pounds, first one to the ball. I’ve never seen anybody that size move like that, that flexible, that bendy. He’s a pro for real. He knows his job, he does what he’s supposed to do outside of the field.”

Defensive end Maxx Crosby is known for his work ethic and even he’s impressed with what he’s seen from Wilkins.

“He works his [expletive] off, it’s the guy that works,” Crosby said. “He’s a worker, so I love having guys that are like minded around. So, it’s been a hell of a start so far. We have a lot of work to do. We’re just getting off each other’s energy, we love football and that’s really all that matters.”

If Wilkins struggles to live up to his contract, it won’t be for a lack of effort.

Tom Telesco Calls Christian Wilkins a ‘Natural Leader’

Wilkins was the first big contract that new Raiders general manager Tom Telesco has given out so he has a lot riding on the defensive tackle being an impact player. One thing that has stood out to Telesco is Wilkins’ leadership.

“Christian, he’s a natural leader,” Telesco said during the Raiders’ June 1o Media Day. “Even though he’s a veteran, he’s played in the league, when you come to a new team sometimes guys will take a step back and see the lay of the land. He just walked in and he leads naturally right away and that’s kind of rare to see.”

Early signs are suggesting that the Raiders won’t end up regretting paying Wilkins.

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