“Could I play every down? Obviously, yes, I’ve shown that,” Wake said during an interview with the Palm Beach Post. “Is that in the best interest of the team? Is that in the best interest of myself? Question mark.”
Wake, now entering his 10th season in Miami, remains one of the most prolific pass rushers in the NFL and an integral piece of the Dolphins defense. He recorded 22 sacks over the past two years, more than any of his current teammates and among the top marks around the league over the same stretch.
Even so, Wake turned 36 this past January and has a significant injury in his recent past. The All-Pro defensive end ruptured his left Achilles midway through the 2015 season, limiting him to nine games and his lowest sack total since his first season in Miami. To keep Wake productive and preserve his health, the team could reduce his workload and feature him mostly in obvious passing situations.
However, the Dolphins must balance those interests against the need to generate a consistent pass rush. Wake accounted for more than a third of the team’s total sack production a season ago, with no other defender registering more than 4.5 individually. Even more of the burden could fall on Wake in 2018 after Miami released All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh earlier this offseason. Newly acquired defensive end Robert Quinn should help, but the coaching staff will depend on Wake to deliver another big year.
“I want to do whatever is going to help the entirety of the team, the entirety of the defense,” Wake explained. “So, if that means me being a third-down guy, let’s do it. If it means I have to start every down, I’ll take that role on, too.”