Recently, the Miami Dolphins signed [CITATION] pass-rusher Cameron Wake to a four-year, $49 million deal.
With 42 tackles and eight-and-a-half sacks last season, Wake did regress a bit in terms of production, but he remains one of the best outside linebackers in the league.
After the NFL saw just how much Terrell Suggs meant to the Ravens (following the linebacker’s injury), Miami made sure to lock up their own star pass-rusher.
The deal has $20 million guaranteed and reflects Miami’s commitment to the defensive side of the ball.
Miami has already lost Brandon Marshall this offseason and giving Wake this big deal could be just enough to satiate the Dolphin fan base.
The Wake contract, along with drafting Ryan Tannehill, at least indicates that the Dolphins aren’t asleep at the wheel.
Though I’m not ready to say this team is a playoff contender, Miami is certainly taking the necessary steps to set themselves up for success in the future.
The AFC East will be a tough division in 2012, but outside of Tom Brady’s Patriots, the division will be more of a ground-and-pound affair next year.
If the Dolphins want to win games this season, Wake needs to become more stout against the run. While he’s a premier pass rusher already, the defender could be a more complete player in 2012.
On defense, Miami will have to grapple with the loss of safety Yeremiah Bell, who was also the defensive captain. I assume Wake will take on a leadership role in 2012, especially with his new contract.
Comparing other pass rushers’ deals around the league, Mario Williams received a $100 million deal ($50 million guaranteed) over six years for the Bills. Wake’s deal is significantly less.
A number of salary cap people in the NFL had every right to be scared that Williams’ deal set the market for top-flight defensive end/outside linebackers, but Wake’s contract should bring the market back down to Earth.
The Dolphins make a solid move here to lock up one of their star players and, after going into the offseason prepared to spend money anyway, reset the market for pass rushers.