The Miami Dolphins on Saturday extended their aging star defensive end Cameron Wake almost assuring fans that his career will end as a Miami Dolphin.
Wake’s previous contract would have allowed him to hit free agency after the 2017 season and it’s very well possible that Miami could have let him walk. Or Wake may have wanted to at least test free agency.
Despite his age (34) Wake is still dominant as an edge rusher. Entering the 2016 season many believed that the Dolphins should release Wake. Wake was coming off an Achilles injury, was expensive with uncertainty and there was talk that Miami saw him only as a pass rush specialist.
The Dolphins opted to keep Wake but did see him as a pass rusher only. Injuries and poor performances by Mario Williams forced Miami to use him on every down and Wake had one of his best career seasons. Now he is being rewarded for that.
Something however changed in Cam Wake last year or perhaps during his rehab in 2015. Wake has always been dominant and while many will disagree with this next comment, he never stood out as a vocal leader.
That changed. Last year Wake was very vocal during training camp and as the season crawled along Wake became even more so. This was something that was there as a “lead by example” type of thing, at least in this authors opinion but something that wasn’t witnessed often.
Miami’s committment to Wake is as much a committment to the fan base who view Wake as the only Dolphins player on the potential list of Hall of Fame players in the next 10-12 years. A debate for another time for certain.
The Dolphins have a lot of holes to fill but now they have bought themselves time as well. Miami entered the off-season knowing they had a need for an edge rusher on the right side of the defensive line but they also realized that they would need to find a replacement for Wake in the next year and a half. They just bought themselves three full off-seasons to find his replacement.
And who knows, If Wake stays healthy the Dolphins just might opt to keep around for another year after that.