A former CFL player could one day punch his ticket to enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.
Cam Wake signed a three-year contract with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday, ending a ten-year stint with the Miami Dolphins. Wake’s new deal will pay him $23 million USD with $7.25 million USD in guaranteed money.
The Penn State product earned almost $52 million USD during his tenure in Miami, a period over which he recorded 360 combined tackles and 98 sacks in 146 games. Wake made the Pro Bowl in five of ten seasons with the Dolphins and appeared on the NFL Top 100 Players list six times, peaking at 39th.
The Dolphins have an Honor Roll (est. 1990) and a Walk of Fame (est. 2014), the distinction between which is unclear. Wake is a strong candidate to earn a spot on both.
But Wake’s future accolades may not end there.
The 37-year-old becomes a more serious contender for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with each passing season.
Wake’s 98 career sacks is good for a share of 33rd overall on the NFL’s all-time list. 13 of the 32 players who rank ahead of Wake are already in the Hall of Fame — Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Michael Strahan, and Lawrence Taylor among them.
Eight players ahead of Wake are not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame, including recent retirees Julius Peppers, Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, and Robert Mathis. This leaves just twelve eligible players ahead of Wake who have yet to be inducted. Wake trails seven of them by fewer than ten sacks on the NFL’s all-time list.
One defensive end with fewer sacks than Wake, retired Los Angeles/Oakland Raider Howie Long, is already in the Hall of Fame.
Wake was a one-man wrecking crew in two seasons with the Lions, recording 137 tackles and 39 sacks in 36 regular season games. He was given the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie award in 2007 and was twice named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player (2007, 2008).
Unfortunately for Wake, the Pro Football Hall of Fame (despite its name) recognizes exclusively NFL career accolades.
But there’s still time for Wake to improve his career numbers in order to garner more serious future Hall of Fame consideration.
Wake is one of the NFL’s oldest players, yet he remains highly effective. He recorded six sacks last season and could improve that number in Tennessee’s 3-4 pass rush-oriented defensive system.
Time will tell if the former B.C. Lions will one day earn a spot in Canton, Ohio. But one thing is for sure — ten years after departing for the NFL, Wake continues to make the CFL proud.