The Las Vegas Raiders have signed big deals to Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Chandler Jones and Davante Adams this offseason. With that much cash, tight end Darren Waller is out of the fun. The Pro Bowl tight end was an excellent player for the team and a top 3 player at his position.
Despite this, he is the 17th highest-paid tight end in the NFL, according to Over the Cap. Despite having two years left on his current contract, he’s clearly making more money and wants a raise, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Waller is an important part of the team and the Raiders would do well to keep him.
The team is fortunate that he’s not the type of player who starts drama. He clearly wants a new contract, but he has delegated those talks to his agent, stating he has no intention of going through with it if an agreement isn’t reached.
“Yes, I’m concentrating on playing now,” Waller said of his contract situation. “My agent will take care of it. Whatever is going on there, that is going on there as well. But whatever the result, I’m here and playing.”
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Waller made his first playoff appearance with the Raiders last season and wants to repeat that success. He knows how important he is to the team. While it’s hard not to focus on the contract situation, Waller is doing his best not to let that distract him too much.
“As a human, you want to think about things like that,” Waller said. “But if I adopt the mindset, ‘if I’m here, what can I give to the team?’ as opposed to what I can get. If I give enough, I feel like when my time on earth comes to an end, people will remember me for the impact I’ve had on people or for the things I do for the world and for people could do, so I try to take that attitude into the smallest details and parts of my day. Because you know we can get distracted but I feel like this approach has definitely helped me focus on what I can do here during the day and it keeps it simple and fun.”
The Raiders have a lot of money tied up in offensive players for the foreseeable future. It’s possible they just don’t have enough room for future salary caps to give Waller what he wants right now. There is a strong possibility that these contract talks will carry over into next season. Obviously, both sides would prefer this to be resolved sooner rather than later, but new head coach Josh McDaniels may want to spend a season on the tight end before pushing for him to get a big payday.
One thing the Raiders could do is guarantee Waller’s salary for 2022. That would at least be a sign of good faith if a deal doesn’t materialize this year.
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