FRIDAY, 10:17am: According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Wake and the Dolphins are hoping for resolution on his contract situation next week, which would give the team time to turn its attention to Vernon before the franchise-tag deadline.
THURSDAY, 8:23am: The Dolphins have engaged in contract talks with veteran defensive end Cameron Wake about a possible extension, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). According to Rapoport, Miami is exploring the possibility of getting something done with Wake before the new league year begins, which could give the team increased flexibility to retain defensive end Olivier Vernon.
Wake, who turned 34 last month, was his usual productive self during the first half of the 2015 season, racking up seven sacks in seven games for the Dolphins, and forcing four fumbles. However, a torn Achilles, sustained in late October, sidelined him for the rest of the year, and has him on the mend as the ’16 league year approaches.
Wake is currently due a base salary of $8.275MM, plus a workout bonus of $125K, in 2016, the final year of his contract. If the Dolphins were to cut him, they could clear that $8.4MM from their books, leaving just $1.4MM in dead money on the cap. Since Miami seems to want to keep Wake on its roster, and a new deal would give him some guaranteed money up front, there’s motivation for both sides to work something out.
If the Dolphins do agree to an extension with Wake, it likely wouldn’t add more than a couple new years to his deal, given his age. It would also almost certainly reduce his $9.8MM cap number for 2016, which would free up some space for the club as it tackles other offseason business. Frankly though, if the Dolphins hope to use their franchise tag on Vernon or spend big on another player, releasing Wake and restructuring Ndamukong Suh‘s contract would make the most sense — those two moves would create upwards of $25MM in cap savings for the club.
If the Dolphins do extend Wake, it may signal the end of Derrick Shelby‘s time in Miami. Re-signing both Vernon and Shelby would be most plausible for the Dolphins if they move on from Wake, but as long as the veteran still in the mix, it might make sense for the club to focus on re-signing one of its two free agent defensive ends. Miami will have until March 1st to use its franchise tag, and until March 9th to work out extensions to avoid having its free agents reach the open market.
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