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Raiders DT Christian Wilkins still 'hungry' after payday

Christian Wilkins inked a four-year, $110 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, giving the former Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick his big payday.

Wilkins is coming off a career-high nine sacks, and his 62 QB pressures were 25 more than his previous career-high, per Next Gen Stats. Earning such outsized stats in a contract year raises questions about whether a player will keep that same drive after being paid.

Wilkins, however, insisted the big contract would not change the approach he's taken since entering the league in 2019.

"I've come a long way definitely since my rookie year in this league," he said via the team's official website. "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."

The Wilkins-Maxx Crosby duo has the chance to be the top tandem in the NFL, providing the Raiders with two linemen who can command double-teams. If 2023 first-round Tyree Wilson improves in Year 2 or Malcolm Koonce continues the upswing he ended last year on, Vegas' front could be deadly.

"We just have to come in with the right mindset each and every day," Wilkins said. "We've done some good things so far and we're off to a good start. Just figuring out the defense, communicating, getting guys in the right spots. But it's ultimately up to us as players. The coaches -- they put a lot on us as players, so it's up to us to take the ownership and that accountability so we could be the best defense we can be."

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