|Wake was absent from team workouts, ostensibly because he wants a new deal. (Getty Images)|
Cameron Wake's path to the NFL wasn't a typical one. He went undrafted out of Penn State in 2005, was signed by the Giants but was released a month before training camp, and then spent the next two seasons tearing up the CFL, racking up 39 sacks in the process. In 2009, 17 NFL teams took notice, eight teams worked him out, and Wake eventually signed a four-year $4.9 million deal with the Dolphins.
On Tuesday, Miami began offseason workouts under new coach Joe Philbin and Wake, who has 28 sacks in three NFL seasons, was conspicuously absent. According to various reports, Wake's looking for a new contract and won't show up until he has one.
Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post's writes that "Despite his status as one of the game's best pass rushers, Wake, is set to make just $615,000 in base salary this year, tied for 30th-highest on the Dolphins. His salary cap number of $790,000 is 31st on the Dolphins, behind special teams players like Tyrone Culver, Jason Trusnik and long-snapper John Denney."
It's the latest hiccup in an offseason full of them for the organization. The Dolphins were among the first teams Peyton Manning crossed off his list, and their seeming indifference to quarterback Matt Flynn was only made worse when Flynn signed with Seattle and Miami settled on David Garrard, who didn't play in 2011. The team also shipped Brandon Marshall to the Bears, released Yeremiah Bell, and were uninterested in re-signing Chad Henne.
By any measure, the Dolphins are worse now than they were in January when they put the finishing touches on a six-win season that cost Tony Sparano his job. The fans took out their frustrations on general manager Jeff Ireland who insists the organization has a plan.
"I haven't missed out on too many players I've gone after," Ireland said last month after missing out on Manning and Flynn. "Peyton Manning? I'm a small piece of that situation. Matt Flynn? That was half his decision, and it was half our decision."
The Dolphins have the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft and they're expected to go after Oklahoma State quarterback Ryan Tannehill if he's still on the board. That would go a long way in assuaging many of the fans' concerns. Then again, so would extending Wake, currently the team's only legitimate pass rusher.
One issue, as Volin notes: Miami currently has about $7 million in salary-cap space but will need $6 million to sign its draft picks.
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