Raiders Ripped for Handing Out 1 of ‘Worst Contracts’ of Free Agency

tom telesco

Getty Las Vegas Raiders GM Tom Telesco.

The Las Vegas Raiders made a splash on the first day of free agency when they signed defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to a four-year, $110 million contract.

While many gave the Raiders rave reviews for landing the former Miami Dolphin, not everybody was as high on the move. Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report ripped the signing in a column about the “best and worst contracts signed this offseason.”

“The five-year veteran has never been a first- or second-team All-Pro or a Pro Bowler, he’s never posted double-digit sacks, he’s registered five total takeaways in five seasons, and he’s never put up a double-digit approximate value rating at Pro Football Reference (typically the threshold for stardom, and a mark that more than 100 players reached in 2023),” Gagnon wrote in a March 20 column.

“Should Wilkins really be the fifth-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL? The market is what it is, but I believe the Raiders will regret this one.”

The Raiders are paying a steep price for Wilkins but if they hadn’t paid that price, another team likely would have, DAZN calling Wilkins “one of the coveted players on the market.”

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager said on “Good Morning Football” that he “I love this fit.”

“Christian Wilkins is a perfect Raider. Beloved by teammates; the ultimate antagonist to opponents. His game, with Crosby and that motor, is very silver and black. I love this fit,” Schrager said.

Will Las Vegas Raiders Regret Christian Wilkins’ Contract?

The Raiders likely did slightly overpay for Wilkins, but that’s the nature of free agency. However, there’s reason for the team to be confident this will be a worthwhile contract. Wilkins is just 28 and in the prime of his career. This is only his second contract so there isn’t too much tread on his tires.

Also, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2019 when they drafted him in the first round. He’s been able to see Wilkins up close and should have good insight into how he works.

Plus, it also needs to be taken into account the kind of talent the Raiders have at defensive end. Maxx Crosby is an All-Pro, Malcolm Koonce was a breakout star last season and Tyree Wilson is a year removed from being the No. 7 pick in the draft. Having so much focus on the edge rushers should open up a lot of opportunities for Wilkins to have one-on-ones. Though the Raiders are dedicating a lot of salary cap to one player, most signs are pointing toward this being a a wise move by the team.

Las Vegas Raiders Defense Could Have Big Year

The Raiders defense was elite after Antonio Pierce took over as head coach in Week 9. The team allowed the fewest points per game allowed (16.0), had the most defensive touchdowns (4) and committed the fewest penalties (31) from Week 9 to the end of the season.

The team hasn’t lost any major players and added Wilkins. Plus, the team could add more impact defenders in free agency and the draft. With so many questions on offense, specifically the quarterback position, the Raiders appear focused on building an elite defense. If they can find a true No. 1 cornerback, there’s no telling just how good this defense could be in 2024.

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