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Christian Wilkins' uncertain future with Dolphins among NFL combine takeaways

Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Herald on

Published in Football

The NFL Scouting Combine concludes Sunday, and then Dolphins decision-makers will head back to Miami as they move on to the next step of the offseason. Tuesday will be a big day for the franchise, with a 4 p.m. deadline to use the franchise tag and all eyes are on if the team uses it to keep defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in South Florida. The team will also still need to open cap space through contract restructures and cuts before the start of free agency at 4 p.m. on March 13.

Amid meeting with dozens of draft prospects, both head coach Mike McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier spoke in Indianapolis and shed light on a bevy of topics regarding the team.

Here are five takeaways after a week at the combine:

The Dolphins are in danger of losing top free agents

Grier spoke to reporters on Wednesday, giving updates on multiple pending free agents and it increasingly appears the Dolphins may have to compete with other teams to retain their top players.

He said“all options are on the table for us” regarding Wilkins but the team will soon have to decide whether the $22.1 million nonexclusive tag is worth keeping him with the team in 2024. The Dolphins are still about $30 million over the cap and while Grier said the team had the resources to fit Wilkins in on the franchise tag, the hefty price could make adding more talent this offseason tougher.

 

ESPN reported Sunday that several league sources expect Wilkins to avoid the tag and that teams are bracing for him to hit free agency.

The sense from sources in Indianapolis is that the tag wasn’t a sure-fire option for the Dolphins, which aligns with ESPN’s report and Grier’s public comments.

If Wilkins is not tagged, he would likely join offensive linemen Robert Hunt and Connor Williams as players who could field offers and sign elsewhere on March 13.

The team had extension talks with Hunt during the season but Grier suggested that Hunt wanted to test free agency. Grier also said that the team would give Williams “space and time” to focus on his ACL rehab; Williams’ agent recently said he could wait to sign with a team.

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