The Las Vegas Raiders haven’t been scared to hand out big money this offseason. Hunter Renfrow, Maxx Crosby and Derek Carr all got contract extensions while Chandler Jones and Davante Adams were signed to big deals. The most notable player who has been left without a contract is tight end Darren Waller.
The Raiders were wise to sign him to a four-year extension in 2019 before he fully developed into a star. While that’s good for Las Vegas, Waller is only making around $7.5 million a year, which makes him the 17th highest-paid tight in the NFL, per Over The Cap. He also has no more guaranteed money left on his contract.
Last year, he hired Klutch Sports to represent him. The agency is known for getting players paid by any means necessary. However, Waller’s relationship with Klutch Sports must have soured. According to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, the tight end is leaving the agency.
This comes as a significant surprise as Klutch Sports is becoming one of the most powerful agencies in sports. Why Waller decided to leave remains unclear.
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What This Move Means for Waller & Raiders
There are many ways to view this development. Perhaps Klutch Sports wanted Waller to hold out until he got a new contract but he wasn’t into the idea. He’s missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury but there has been speculation that his contract could also be playing a role. He could just want to get back on the field and focus on football without having to hold out.
However, this move could mean that Waller has been frustrated with how negotiations have gone. He’s going to be 30 soon and wants to get paid. He’s seen many of his teammates get big contracts and might be tired of being underpaid. It’s difficult to know which scenario is accurate. The hope is that he’ll find new representation soon and land a contract but this could also be a sign that he won’t be with the Raiders much longer. Time will tell why Waller made the major decision.
Josh McDaniels Hasn’t Been Concerned With Waller
The Raiders haven’t said much about Waller’s contract situation. It would be a mistake not to keep him happy. Without him, the trade for Davante Adams won’t feel as impactful. Las Vegas can have one of the best offenses in the NFL but their ceiling will be lower if Waller isn’t playing. Luckily, head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t too concerned about the tight end’s status.
“I am not concerned,” McDaniels said before Wednesday’s practice. “He’s doing everything he can to get out there as soon as he can be. I don’t want to make a prediction on whether he will or won’t be ready here in a few weeks, but I see him every day. He’s in every meeting, he’s doing everything he can to get out there as fast as possible. We don’t have that many guys that are in that boat right now. Darren’s certainly one of them. [He’s] working his butt off. He knows that he’s going to be a big part of this team and what we want to do and he’s right there. And like I said he’s in meetings. But I’m not concerned about it.”
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