BY DAN BEGNOCHE
With one year still left on his contract, Ireland re-signed Pro Bowl linebacker Cameron Wake to an extension last May to the tune of nearly $50 million over four years.
That paid off handsomely for Ireland and the Dolphins, as Wake had one of his most productive seasons to date. But as Ireland said Monday, the decision to pull the trigger early on Wake was a easy one.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Ireland told Jesse Agler and John Congemi Monday on the Finsiders broadcast via the team’s website. “Cam’s one of those guys that I really had no doubt in my mind.
"When you sign a guy early and he’s got another year on his belt but you sign him early, you have to have a lot of conviction to what you’re doing from a contractual standpoint that he’s going to play as hard as he can with great effort, and that’s what Cam does. He’s always done that and he’ll continue to do that into his career.”
Wake finished the 2012 season with 15 sacks —a career high —and 38 tackles. He also tied a career best with three forced fumbles and was nominated to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his four-year NFL career.
The free agent task ahead of Ireland will be a bit more daunting over the next few months however, as the team still has a number of high-value players set to hit the market in March. Signings on the offensive side of the ball will be particularly challenging for Miami, as key players such as Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, Anthony Fasano and Jake Long will all be without a contract unless something gets done this month.
Ireland stressed Monday that though negotiations will be a challenge, he’d love nothing more than to bring them all back for another season.
“They’ve all complemented this team greatly, they all have what we’re looking for from a character and make-up standpoint," he said. "To put it in a nutshell, we wish we could re-sign all of them because all of them have done some really good things for us. There are some complicated negotiations. We’ve got some tough decisions to make.”
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