The Miami Dolphins and linebacker Cameron Wake have agreed to a contract extension. The Fins’ locked up their stud linebacker to a 4-year, $49 million dollar package that includes $20 million in guaranteed money. Wake has become a force to be reckoned with on an up-and-coming defensive front for the Dolphins. No.91 registered 8.5 sacks and 42 tackles last season, productivity that went largely unnoticed due to the Dolphins’ inability to close out games and subsequently stay on the media and fan’s radar. Coupled with his 14 sack campaign in 2010, the former Penn State product is quickly becoming a household name and now has the contract to back it up. Cameron Wake joined 790 The Ticket in Miami with The Jason Jackson Show to discuss the process of asking for and then negotiating the particulars of a contract extension, his mindset going into contract negotiations in terms of money or years being most important, being a complete defensive player, and turning the Miami Dolphins into a consistent football team again in and beyond.
Tell me about the process of putting your foot down and needing a new deal?
“Coming down here from the CFL has always been my dream playing in the NFL on the highest level of football and that’s right here. It was always a dream to play and this organization reached out to me during that process and I couldn’t make a better choice to come down here in South Florida and play, but like you said it was a situation where we are all grown men. We are all big boys. There’s a business side of football and there’s a player side. You try your best to make sure you keep the two separate, but sometimes they cross paths. At the end of the day the Dolphins organization I think they made the right decision and I got the extension, but at the end of the day I just said I am here to play ball and it all worked out. All is well.”
Was the new contract about years or about money? What was your mindset going into the negotiations?
“Well you know what I think I have a great team around me of guys working for me. They allowed me to focus on the football side of it. I guess take away as much of the stress off me and let me just kind of concentrate on my off-season. At the end of the day it was about the years I think. The product has a value. You wanted to be compensated fairly for that value. I think that’s whether you are a football player, a chef, a radio host or whatever it is. You want to be compensated fairly among your peers and equals and I think that is what it is about.”
Tell me how you see yourself? A pass rusher? A complete defensive player?
“It’s funny you say that because that was a big thing when I came down here. I came down here to the Dolphins and they had two very, very good defensive players already in place with Jason Taylor and Joey Porter. I was coming in to try to find my niche and I was more of a role player. I came in primarily to do the pass rush thing and get after the quarterback, so when I got down here I was just labeled a pass rush guy. I kind of laughed at that because for so much of my career at Penn State I was the opposite. I was their best run stopper. I’m thinking I am going to turn into this pass rush guy when for so long I was part of that group on the line and stuffing the run. I knew personally I could do it. I knew I could do the run stopping, I could drop back or do the pass rush, but just going out there and having a chance to do it. Two years and last year as well being a guy going out there on every play, whether it is 3rd-and-1 or 3rd-and-long or getting the fullback on the dive play. Whatever it may be and being that jack of all trades and being able to do anything like that. You want to make sure if the play is called that I gotta get there the best I can. You can’t hold the point or he can’t get to the quarterback or he can’t drop to the curl. Being able to say I am strong to take on the big guys and picking up the angles on the receivers and I am fast enough to get to the quarterback as well.”
What is it going to take to make the Miami Dolphins the crown jewel of Florida professional sports?
“Like you said I think consistency is the main thing. We got the new pieces in place already. We have Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle. A couple of new additions here. The draft went by and obviously a couple of new pieces went in there, but honestly one of my reasons that Joe Paterno told me once that if you take care of the little things all the big things will take care of themselves. I think it starts off from the very little things all the way down to making sure you are enjoying what you are supposed to be doing and being where you are supposed to be. Whether it’s on defense or in the building or in meetings, etc. Once you are making more plays on defense or offense. Whatever it is you are making more plays and the team is doing better. Obviously the winning is going to be a factor of that and you get those stats to start piling up that’s when the whole mindset changes for everyone.”