- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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My first reaction was, "Good for Wake. He deserved an extension."
My second thought was, "Did the Dolphins pay too much?"
Both thoughts are at play with the Dolphins and Wake. Here is our take on the good and the bad of the extension:
Wake outperformed his contract and was due to make $650,000 next season. He worked his way from the CFL to the NFL and had 22.5 sacks the past two seasons. There were plenty of Dolphins, including several bench players, scheduled to make more than Wake in 2012. Not working out an extension would have led to a potential holdout or, at the very least, a very unhappy player.
Wake has solid character. He is the type of player rookie coach Joe Philbin says he wants in his locker room. Until this brief protest, Wake never caused any waves with the Dolphins. He worked hard to prove himself in the NFL and became one of the leaders in the locker room. Miami's extension ensures the team keeps Wake's leadership and character for several more years.
Finally, this was a good PR move for the Dolphins, who could use good press. The national perception of the Dolphins isn't good. The front office and ownership are not viewed in a good light around the league and the team is rebuilding on the field. Miami ending the threat of a holdout and working out a contract with one of the team's best players can only help.
Paying Wake an average of $12.25 million per season is a lot. In my opinion, the Dolphins overpaid. Wake is a solid player. But is he a $12 million per year player? That kind of money usually is reserved for game-changers, and I wouldn't put Wake in that category. The Dolphins have handed out big-money extensions in the past that didn't pan out, and they are still taking the hit on the team's salary cap. They have to hope this big contract won't be an issue two years down the line.
Here are two more questions: Is Wake on the upswing and how much longer will he be effective? Wake turned 30 this past January and is signed through 2016. He will be 34 by the end of his contract. At $49 million, that could be a risky investment. Wake's sack numbers dropped significantly from 2010 (14) to 2011 (8.5). That suggests Wake's prime years are behind him, not ahead of him. Miami gave Wake $20 million up front in guaranteed money. He will probably see at least three years of this contract, if not the entire four years.
As I mentioned, there are two sides to Wake's extension. Would you give this move by Miami a thumbs up or thumbs down?