Crunching the Numbers
Around the League is taking a look at each team's salary cap situation as we approach the start of training camp:
• Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
• Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
• Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
• Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
• Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
• Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
• Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
• 49ers | Cardinals | Rams | Cameron Wake. Sure, Wake just signed a four-year, $33.2 million extension that includes up to $15 million in sacks escalators. But for $7.665 million in cash and a $2.19 million cap number in 2012, Wake remains a steal. He turned 30 in January, and his sack total declined in 2011, but he was the most impactful player on the Miami Dolphins' defense a season ago and figures to be again this season. According to Football Outsiders, no player drew more holding penalties than the 13 that Wake did in 2011. Even more impressive is that eight of those were on passing plays, and no other NFL player had more than seven total holding penalties drawn.
Oh, and with Wake costing the Dolphins just $3.615 million in cash and $5.015 million in cap dollars in 2013, he'll be a steal next year, too.
Potential camp casualty: Jake Long's rookie contract. Four-time Pro Bowl left tackles don't hit the free-agent market, and there's little chance that Long will kick off a free-agent tour next offseason. To retain Long, the Dolphins will use the franchise tag, even though the cost of doing so is $15.36 million (120 percent of Long's 2012 cap number of $12.8 million). An extension this year won't come cheap or free up any cap room -- Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas' contract extension last August increased his 2011 cap number by more than $5 million -- but it makes sense, as it will lock up a very large, very talented piece of the puzzle for this franchise.
Contract issue looming in 2013: Sean Smith. With the NFL evolving into a pass-happy, quarterback-driven league, more and more money is being spent on the perimeter, and 6-foot-3, 214-pound cornerbacks don't grow on trees. Smith, however, has frustrated fans and coaches alike with his penchant to drop interceptions during his first three NFL seasons. If he can hold onto more of those potential interceptions this season, Smith will be poised to break the bank on the unrestricted free-agent market next offseason. All the more reason for the Dolphins to lock up Long now and keep their franchise-tag options open in 2013.
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