When Dave Ziegler took over as general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders, he quickly handed contract extensions to Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow and Maxx Crosby as all three were on expiring contracts. However, the most interesting contract situation was surrounding Darren Waller. He had two years left on his deal but had no guarantees and was the 17th highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
He certainly earned a pay raise but the two sides have taken their time making a deal. Waller’s decision to fire Klutch Sports and hire Drew Rosenhaus as his new agent has paid off. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Raiders are giving the tight end a three-year extension worth $51 million.
Waller is now locked up for the next five seasons, which is great news for both sides. He’ll be turning 30 in the coming days and needed to secure his money. The rest of the contract details need to come out but based on the extension, Waller will be making $17 million a year now, which puts him ahead of the $15 million a year George Kittle makes. The Raiders get one of their best players locked in for the foreseeable future while Waller gets the biggest payday of his life.
Negotiations Weren’t Easy
Waller has been an excellent player and teammate for the Raiders since he arrived in 2019. One of the smartest moves former general manager Mike Mayock made during his tenure was signing the tight end to a contract extension early. He quickly outplayed that contract but had little leverage. That lack of leverage made it quite difficult for him to get this recent extension.
“This was one of the most challenging negotiations I’ve encountered,” Rosenhaus told Schefter
“It is very rare for a 30-year-old player with two years left on his contract to get a new deal,” Rosenhaus added.
Despite the odds working against Waller and Rosenhaus, they made a deal happen. Waller clearly didn’t want to go anywhere. He’s made Las Vegas his home and is beloved by fans and teammates. The fact that he’s already turning 30 could be an issue but he also didn’t play a full season until he was 27. His body hasn’t had to go through as much as a typically 30-year-old NFL player. He should continue to be an elite weapon through the duration of his contract.
Josh McDaniels Praises Waller
It’s been a long offseason for Waller filled with holdout and trade rumors. None of those came to fruition and it always seemed like a certainty that the Raiders would figure out how to keep him. Head coach Josh McDaniels loves tight ends and he has one of the best in the league already on his team. He had the highest praise for Waller after the deal was officially signed.
“Darren Waller is an exemplary teammate in every way, and we’re excited to see him continue to grow as a leader on this team,” McDaniels said, via Raiders.com. “Darren brings a tremendous commitment and work ethic to the building every day and we couldn’t be more thrilled that he will be a part of the Raiders Family for years to come.”