Come the end of this upcoming January, Miami Dolphins veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake will reach the age of 37 years old, and he's merely two sacks away from reaching the vaunted 100 sack milestone, which as of now, only 32 other players have managed to reach in NFL history.
“It’s even an honor to even be speaking about this." Wake said on Friday. "Think about, again, the story has been told a lot of times, but to start from where I started, to get to even where I am now, I cherish that. I put a lot on that because … It’s something I definitely am looking forward to. I don’t know the numbers. You guys can look it up. I don’t know how many undrafted guys have gotten there.
"I don’t know how many guys spent a year out of football. I don’t know how many CFL guys have gotten there. But I do whatever I can every day to go out there and just fight and scratch and claw to do my job, and to be one of blank many guys to say they’ve had 100 or so sacks, to be mentioned with those names, that’s something special.”
However, there is a slight problem looming, and that's the simple fact that after the season is over, Wake is set to become a free agent, and there hasn't been much news about extending him. Numerically speaking, Wake has had a slow year by his standards, only logging six sacks entering the final week of the season.
Then again, based on analytics such as ProFootballFocus, which uses a formula that combines sacks, hits and hurries relative to how many times a player rushes the passer, Wake actually ranks sixth in the entire NFL, behind only Buffalo's Jerry Hughes, the Chargers' Uchenna Nwosu, Detroit's Ezekiel Ansah, Buffalo's Mike Love, and the Eagles' Daeshon Hall.
If Love and Hall get removed since they've only appeared in two games, then Wake moves up to fourth. So there's a huge gap in the evaluation, depending on what one considers important.
Even Wake himself is aware of the perception it creates.
"I’m not a numbers guy." He said. "I’m a production guy and sacks are just one metric to calculate what that production is. Again, nobody writes stories about setting the edge, nobody writes stories about pressures, things like that. Sacks are sexy and they usually get the most recognition; but at the end of the day there’s a lot of things that go into being a defensive end.
"You’ve got to be able to do a lot of different things, and so whichever way the ball swings sometimes, your sack numbers aren’t there; but you have to do your best to be an all-around total football player and that involves a lot of things you spoke about, even some other things too.”
The question now becomes this: how much is a pass rusher entering his 11th season in the league and about to become 37 years old worth? Can Miami afford to move on from him? Can they afford to keep him? More than likely, Miami will be moving on from Andre Branch, who has underperformed his contract extension and will save $7 million in the cap upon release; young DE Charles Harris is dangerously close to being labeled a bust, having only logged three sacks in two seasons.
For a former first round pick, that's very bad.
There's no doubt Wake can still get to the quarterback with as often as he came within inches of getting a sack only for the QB to run away from him, and it would mean a lot if Wake could finish his career having only played with one team, something that not even legendary former Dolphin Jason Taylor can boast.
It all depends on if the two sides can come to an agreement, which one can only guess if they will given that there's projected to be some big shakeups in the front office. Make no mistake, however, Wake says he wants to play in 2019, so the question is whether it will be in a Dolphins uniform or not.
And he does want to be.
“I would like to be." He said regarding remaining in Miami. "It’s probably a little bit out of my hands, a little bit in my hands. So stay tuned, I guess.”
Stay tuned, indeed.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
Latest Dolphins News