The Las Vegas Raiders have handed out big contracts to Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Chandler Jones and Davante Adams this offseason. With so much spending, tight end Darren Waller has been left out of the fun. The Pro Bowl tight end has been an excellent player for the team and a top-three player at his position.
Despite that, he’s the 17th highest-paid tight end in the NFL, per Over the Cap. Though he still has two years left on his current contract, he clearly deserves more money and wants a pay raise, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Waller is an important part of the team and the Raiders would be wise to retain him.
The team is fortunate that he’s not the type of player to start drama. He clearly wants a new contract but he’s delegated those talks to his agent and stated that he has no intention to hold out if a deal isn’t reached.
“Yeah, I’m focused on playing right now,” Waller said of his contract situation. “My agent handles that. Whatever is going on there is whatever’s going on there. But whatever the outcome is of that, I’m here and I’m playing.”
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Waller Trying Not to Let Contract Discussions Distract Him
Waller made his first playoff appearance with the Raiders last season and wants to replicate that success. He knows how important he is to the team. While it’s difficult for him not to keep his mind on the contract situation, Waller is doing his best not to let it create too much of a distraction.
“As a human being, you want to think about things like that,” Waller said. “But for me adopting the mindset of ‘when 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 comes to an end on earth, I feel like people are going to remember me for the impact I had on people or things I was able to do for the world for people, 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 taking that approach has definitely helped me to focus in on what I can do in the day here and it keeps it simple and keeps it fun.”
Will an Extension Get Done This Year?
The Raiders have a lot of money tied up into offensive players for the foreseeable future. It’s possible that they simply might not have enough future salary cap space to give Waller what he wants right now. There’s a strong possibility that these contract talks will bleed into next season. Obviously, both sides would prefer to have this resolved sooner rather than later but new head coach Josh McDaniels might want to spend a season with the tight end before pushing for him to get a big payday.
One thing the Raiders could do is guarantee Waller’s 2022 salary. That would at least be a show of good faith if a deal isn’t happening this year.
READ NEXT: Wild Trade Proposal Has Raiders Landing Pro Bowler With 18.5 Sacks in 2021