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Earlier this offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders made former Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Christian Wilkins the highest-paid non-quarterback to change teams in free agency, signing him to a four-year, $110 million deal that contains $82.75 million in total guarantees, $55.5 million of which is fully guaranteed at signing. The contract carries the second-largest average annual value among all interior defensive linemen behind only Chris Jones, even after other players like Justin Madubuike, Derrick Brown, Leonard Williams, Christian Barmore, and more received deals of their own.

Wilkins is coming off the best season of his career, having racked up a career-best nine sacks and 23 quarterback hits, along with 10 tackles for loss. He now joins a defensive line that includes star edge rusher Maxx Crosby, who is widely considered one of the small handful of best defensive players in the NFL. And Wilkins is excited for both that opportunity and to continue getting better, as he has over the last several years.

"I've come a long way definitely since my rookie year in this league," Wilkins 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 Vegas defense showed great improvement over the second half of the season under then-interim and now-permanent coach Antonio Pierce, and it's expected that with Wilkins on board, the unit can maintain or even improve on those results. Wilkins is pleased with the progress he's seen during the offseason.

"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."