The Las Vegas Raiders have been engaging in contract extension talks with star tight end Darren Waller for the better part of the offseason.
But with training camp now upon us, there’s been continued rumors that Waller is not happy about his current deal. Could he join some other stars in potentially holding out?
It’s a reasonable question, one that he answered recently in talking to the media. “Whatever happens with that, I’m here playing,” Waller told reporters, via Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
That has to be music to the ears of the Raiders’ new brass and fans in Southern Nevada alike. But does it mean something will get done here soon?
David Njoku contract impacts Darren Waller negotiations
A lesser tight end, David Njoku singed a four-year, $54.75 million extension with the Cleveland Browns this past spring. His $13.69 million average annual salary ranks fifth in the NFL among tight ends. To say that this will impact what Waller ultimately receives would be an understatement.
- Darren Waller stats (2019-21): 252 receptions, 3,006 yards, 14 TD, 71% catch rate
- David Njoku stats (2019-21): 60 receptions, 729 yards, 7 TD, 65% catch rate
Waller is currently playing under a four-year, $29.8 million contract. His average annual salary of $7.45 million ranks 17th among NFL tight ends. It’s obviously a below-market deal.
As for Waller, he’s been consistent in leaving these talks up to his agent, Andy Simms.
After signing Derek Carr to a massive extension during the offseason, Vegas’ focus should be on making Waller happy.
It will lead to continued optimism under new head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler as the Raiders prepare for their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 4.