NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports that Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake could approach the team about a contract extension in the near future.
Currently leading the AFC with 8.5 sacks and quite possibly heading for his first Pro Bowl selection, Wake will reportedly ask for the new deal if and when he reaches 10 sacks on the season—a total that could be reached tonight given the Chicago Bears' poor pass protection.
Originally undrafted out of Penn State in 2005, Wake spent a brief time with the New York Giants and was out of football before joining the CFL's BC Lions in 2007.
Wake took the CFL by storm, totaling 39 sacks in two seasons with the team and earning the league Defensive MVP award both years.
The Dolphins' beat out more than half the teams in the NFL when they signed him as a free agent in 2009, but actually got him at an extremely inexpensive price.
As I broke down back in January 2009, Wake's current four-year deal has a maximum value of $4.9 million and included a signing bonus of $1 million. It calls for minimum base salaries in all four years for a total of $1.55 million, including a base salary of just $395,000 in 2009.
Wake totaled 5.5 sacks in his first season with the team as a situational pass rusher, but has been thrust into the starting role in 2010 with the departure of veterans Joey Porter and Jason Taylor.
In addition to his AFC-best 8.5 sacks in 2010, Wake has also added 32 tackles, one forced fumble and four pass deflections.
Wake is a very humble and reasonable guy, from what I can tell, but he has one of the lowest salaries on the entire Dolphins' roster. It's hard to argue he doesn't deserve some kind of pay increase for the way he's played and the impact he's had on the Dolphins defense this year.
I don't anticipate any problems with the two sides working out a deal, because it's not an unreasonable request on the player's part and the Dolphins are smart enough to lock up one of their biggest defensive pieces.
The Dolphins have shown not hesitation in extending the contracts of young key players or those with potential, such as Lousaka Polite, Patrick Cobbs, Greg Camarillo, John Denney, Dan Carpenter, Brandon Fields and Ikaika Alama-Francis.
Wake is arguably more valuable than any of the guys above, and while his contract demands will probably exceed any of theirs as well, he's clearly proved to be worth starter money.
Not only has Wake excelled as a pass rusher this season, but he has also rapidly developed into a complete player than can play all three downs and defend the run as well.
While older than you average second-year player at 28, Wake is in as good of physical condition as anyone in the league an certainly has plenty of good years left at the rate he's doing.
The Dolphins should re-do the final two years of his contract to give him more appropriate base salaries, offer him a nice signing bonus up front and tack on an additional two years to the existing deal.
In the end, I expect the Dolphins to sit down with Wake and his representatives this offseason and hammer out a fair deal that both sides can live with, and one that will keep one of the Dolphins' most productive defenders in Miami for the coming years.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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