As crazy as it may sound, this could be Cameron Wake’s last season in a Dolphins’ uniform. Although it isn’t something that is talked about much or something that would be popular among fans, it could happen.
In 2012, the Pro Bowl defensive end signed a contract for 5 years/ $33.2M. He would also go on to post a career high 15 sacks and make the Pro Bowl.
In 2013, Wake started off the season with a bang, posting 2.5 sacks against Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns. But things would get a little shaky after that. Against the Colts, Wake had no sacks and was held in check most of the game. In the next game against the Falcons he was injured in the first quarter and never returned. Wake would then miss the next game against the Saints on MNF.
Even though Wake only missed one whole game his production took a major hit. Wake looked slow at times and was just not the same player after his week 3 injury. Wake played 694 snaps last year compared to 936 in 2012.
Throughout the season he did show flashes of his explosive self, like against Cincinnati on Halloween night where he embarrassed the right guard and got to Andy Dalton for the game winning safety in OT or against Pittsburgh when he blew by the offensive tackle to get the strip sack on Ben Roethlisberger. Besides these plays and a few others, Wake’s impact on the field has definitely taken a hit and some would probably say that Wake is starting to show his age. The 32 year old finished the season with 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 37 tackles. Not quite the numbers you want to see from your all-pro defensive end.
Last season Wake was only given a positive grade above 3.5 three times compared to 5 in 2012. Wake also only had one one negative grade in 2012 compared to three last season.
This biggest decline in Wake’s game however was probably in the run game where he finished with a +10.4 grade in 2012 and dropped to a -0.2 this past season.
Wake will need to stay healthy this year to prove that he’s worth the $8.2M the Dolphins owe him in 2015.
Fortunately for Cameron Wake, the Dolphins have some other pretty good names at defensive end. They have 2012 third round pick, Olivier Vernon and of course, the 2013 third overall pick, Dion Jordan. There’s also Derrick Shelby, an undrafted free agent out of Utah who is a very solid back up and has proven he’s able to step in when Wake needs a breather.
Wake will be fortunate if Vernon picks up where he left off and Jordan lives up to his hype and expectations. If this happens he may have less of a burden on him and might perform better with either of those two youngsters getting some extra attention from offensive lines.
On the darker side of things, Wake will likely need to perform at a high or at least respectable level to keep his job in Miami. Let’s also keep in mind that if the Dolphins don’t perform up to par, Stephen Ross could hit reset and bring in a new coaching staff/front office, which would have not ties to Wake, meaning there would be no love lost if they cut him.
If Wake underwhelms in 2014 we could see the 3 time Pro Bowler in different colors in 2015.