Cameron Wake is a 5x Pro Bowl linebacker who has been sacking NFL quarterbacks for ten seasons playing for the Miami Dolphins, but now the free agent football veteran has struck gold in Tennessee.
A former Penn Stater and Canadian Football Leaguer (and at one point almost a New York Giant), now the 37-year-old Wake will be a Tennessee Titan and spend his next three years hunting quarterbacks in the AFC South.
Heres a look at the journey Cameron Wake took to get to the NFL and the odds and predictions of the total number of sacks the old man will muster during his 2019 season.
Derek Cameron Wake is a 37-year-old NFL outside linebacker born in the suburbs of Washington D.C. called Beltsville, Maryland in 1982 to parents Darlene and Alvin Wake.
Wake, who now stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 263-pounds, played high school football at DeMatha Catholic High School and was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Washington Post.
Considered a 4-star recruit by 247Sports, Wake accepted a scholarship to play football at Penn State University in 2000.
Yes Derek (as he was called back then) was.
Wake played immediately his freshman year and racked up 10 tackles (2 for loss), a pass deflection and a critical blocked field goal against Illinois, but after a knee injury (torn MCL and medial capsule) his sophomore season, he was granted a medical redshirt.
The following two seasons, Wake played weak side linebacker and had 122 total tackles (18 for loss), 7.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, an interception and five blocked kicks.
The biggest shortcoming Wake showed was his inability to cover receivers on deep routes and as a result his foot speed was questioned, though at the NFL Combine he ran a 40-yard-dash in 4.65 seconds and Penn States pro day he ran it in 4.55.
He wasnt, and sitting through all seven rounds of the 2005 NFL Draft without hearing his name being called was not fun, according to Wake.
After the draft, a few teams took a look at him and he worked out for each of them.
Wake ended up signing a rookie deal with the New York Giants but was waived a month later before training camp even began.
At first, Wake lived at home with his parents doing nothing but working out and waiting by the phone for some team to call.
After a while, he took a broker position with a company called Castle Point Mortgage just to earn some money, and at the same time became a personal trainer at a nearby gym in order to stay in football shape.
By 2007, Wake knew he had to make a move in one direction or the other, so he quit both his jobs and began to train full time in order to get back in NFL ready shape.
Then a call came, but not from the NFL, but from a little farther north instead.
The B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football league offered Wake a contract worth $48,000 to play in their league, and Wake jumped at the opportunity to suit up again.
Coaches began calling him by his middle name, Cameron, and with his new name came a couple of seasons of professional football that finally got Wake the NFL attention he had been searching for.
During his two CFL seasons, Wake won the Defensive Player of the Year, the Rookie of the Year and the Norm Fieldgate Trophy twice after totaling 39 sacks, 137 tackles, 8 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries.
After working out for the Miami Dolphins during the 2009 offseason, Wake signed a four-year deal with a $1million signing bonus that with incentives met could be worth a total of $4.9 million.
Over his ten seasons with the Dolphins, Wake has put up respectable numbers, including 98 sacks, 360 tackles, 22 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception.
Wakes was a First-team All-Pro in 2012, a 3x Second-team All-Pro and a 5x Pro Bowler and was ranked 74th by his peers on the NFL Top Players of 2018.
In May of 2012, Wake signed a four-year extension worth $49 million with $20 million guaranteed and in February of 2017, he signed a two-year extension worth $18 million.
Say it again with me everybody money, money, money.
Balanced against Wakes age, the Dolphins couldnt afford to offer him another lengthy or costly extension, especially given the teams rumored need to do poorly in 2019 in order to set themselves up well for future drafts.
Although its doubtful that the Dolphins will be able to replace a player like Wake inexpensively.
The Tennessee Titans offered Wake a three-year deal worth $23 million, including a signing bonus of $4 million and a total of $10.75 guaranteed.
Wake will average a yearly salary of $7.67 million for three seasons and wont become an unrestricted free agent until the year 2022.
At that time, Wake will be 40-years old.
Besides the potential sacks and tackles and quarterback hurries, Wake brings a veteran presence to a young team that could use another adult in the room.
Wake will be working with second-year linebacker Harold Landry, who had a promising rookie season in 2018 with 4.5 sacks, 44 tackles (4 for loss), 14 quarterback hits, 2 passes defended and a forced fumble.
The Titans are using Wake to help fill the huge linebacker gap left by the retiring Brian Orapko and the departing free agent Derrick Morgan.
The Dolphins have lost their defensive man who has posted double-digit sack totals in five of his ten NFL seasons and has averaged 9.8 sacks per season.
Theyve lost a player with the second-most sacks in Dolphins history behind only Jason Taylor.
Miami has lost a player old enough to turn your back on but young and driven enough to make a comeback, elsewhere now, and give the Dolphins possible AFC headaches down the line.
Wake wears the number 91 on his jersey for motivational reasons based on how tough it is to get invited to minicamp.
90 athletes get invited to each minicamp, and the number 91 reminds Wake that in the past, executives invited 90 players to their minicamps that were supposedly better than him.
The 91 is a chip on Wakes shoulder that motivates him to prove he deserves his invitation to the NFL.
Apparently everybody on the Dolphins defense had a nickname.
Wake once told the media:
I dont know if we actually call anybody by their real birth names around here.
Wake had three nicknames in all: Cobra, Spiderman and Mr. Wake.
On the negative side, Wake is thirty-seven, which is late-fifties or older in linebacker years, and its only a matter of time before his body starts to give out, though he only missed two games last season and none in 2017.
On the positive side, Wake is a motivated veteran whose engine still seems to rev pretty hard and if he proves he can still get after the quarterback at his age the Titans will have scored themselves a real deal.
Wake knows what its like to want to play in the NFL but not being invited to, so chances are hes going to do whatever it takes to make this run with the Titans last forever.
Wake is a linebacker who has averaged 9.8 sacks per season in his ten NFL years, but last season in 14 games, he only had 6.
Will Wake work well with his new, young counterparts and sack for average?
Or will this be the season that begins his inevitable downfall, the fate of every aging NFLer?
Here are the current Cameron Wake odds listed for 2019 good luck:
Caveat: Wake must play in game one for action to commence.
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