NY Jets: Cameron Wake would be a sneaky good pickup
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets will be looking for pass-rush help this offseason and they could find the help they need in the form of veteran Cameron Wake.
The NY Jets have been searching for a truly dominant edge rusher for over a decade at this point. And while they may not be able to snag one this offseason, veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake could be a wise pickup in free agency.
Wake was released by the Tennessee Titans along with running back Dion Lewis earlier on Thursday in what was a cost-cutting move. The Titans had signed the five-time Pro Bowler to a pretty hefty three-year, $23 million contract last offseason.
But after an injury-riddled 2019 season, the Titans opted to move on after just one season. However, despite his disappointing season, Wake could still be a very useful player for the Jets.
In nine games, Wake finished with 2.5 sacks while playing in a part-time role. It was the first time since his rookie season in Miami that he hadn’t been an every-down player, and he actually fared quite well.
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The analytics back this up as Wake finished with an exceptional Pro Football Focus grade of 83.9. If that was extended throughout the entire season, it would have been one of the highest grades out of any edge defender in the NFL.
Wake can still play at a very high level, even if he’s not asked to be a starter. And the fact that he’s still going this strong at a remarkable 38-years-old is truly an impressive feat.
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For years, Wake tormented the Jets as a dominant pass rusher for the division rival Miami Dolphins. In 19 career games against the Jets, Wake has amassed 12.5 sacks — more than he has against any other NFL franchise.
Signing Wake to a cheap, one-year deal in the offseason is both plausible and worthwhile.
The Jets are in desperate need of some help at edge rusher, especially with Jordan Jenkins set to hit free agency. Even if the Jets bring Jenkins back, there’s no clear plan at the other position and Jenkins is hardly a top-tier pass rusher either.
Wake wouldn’t be a star-studded addition, but he would be excellent depth and would probably give the team their best true pass rusher. Despite his age, Wake still gets to the quarterback at an impressive rate.
On 172 pass-rush snaps, Wake managed to get pressure on a whopping 31 of them for an impressive 18 percent pressure rate — top three among qualified edge rushers. Moreover, his veteran leadership and experience would be invaluable to a young Jets defense.
Even if the Jets managed to sign one of the top edge rushers on the market, targeting Wake still makes sense. Situational pass rushers are important, and signing one with the pedigree and production that Wake has is a no-brainer.
It’s time to bring Cameron Wake back to the AFC East.