The Miami Dolphins are working on contract extensions for left tackle Jake Long and outside linebacker Cameron Wake, Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel reports.
All three players are entering the final years of their current contracts.
Long has gone to four straight Pro Bowls since entering the NFL as the No. 1 pick of the 2008 NFL Draft and signing a five-year, $57.75 million contract that included $30 million in guaranteed money. Escalators in that contract increased Long's 2012 base salary to $11.2 million and reducing his $12.8 million salary cap number could help the Dolphins re-sign Wake, Hartline and other key starters entering the final year of their contracts (Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, Anthony Fasano, Matt Moore, Randy Starks, Sean Smith and Brandon Fields).
How much they'll be able to reduce Long's $12.8 cap number is uncertain as his representative (Tom Condon of CAA Football) will certainly look to top the seven-year, $84 million contract that Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas received last September. I broke down the specifics of the Thomas contract, but can add that his cap number increased from $10.76 million to $15.96 million after signing his extension in 2011.
Long is unlikely to leave the Dolphins, who will have the option of using the franchise tender on him in 2013. That number was just $9.383 million in 2012, but since Long's 2012 cap number ($12.8 million) will be larger than whatever next year's franchise tender amount will be, so his tender would be 120 percent of his previous year's cap number, or $15.36 million.
As Kelly notes, Wake has racked up 28 sacks over his first three seasons in the NFL, has been to a Pro Bowl and may be the Dolphins' most important player (on defense, anyway). But it may be difficult for the two sides to agree on a long-term contract as the Dolphins currently have all the leverage. Wake turned 30 after the 2011 season and is a bargain as he's due $665,000 in cash and has a $790,000 cap number for 2012. An extension for Wake would significantly increase both figures, eating into the approximately $7.4 million in cap space the Dolphins currently have.
Miami also has the threat of the franchise tag to hang over Wake. With the salary cap expected to remain flat in 2013, the franchise tag for Wake would cost between $9 million to $11 million, depending on which position -- defensive end or linebacker -- Wake plays more than 50 percent of the snaps at next season.