The Green Bay Packers decided to make some news ahead of the NFL Draft when it was leaked to Cheesehead TV that they were trying to trade for Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller. They apparently were hoping to have him added to the original trade for Davante Adams but league rules wouldn’t allow a player on a franchise tag to get traded for a player who is under contract. Considering Waller’s contract and importance to the team over the last few seasons, it seemed odd that they would consider trading him right now.
It appears that the rumors are smoke for now. Derek Carr already came out and there’s “no chance” Waller gets traded. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is now reporting that there is a “firm ‘zero chance'” of the tight end getting traded.
Waller has become a fan favorite over the years and a leader on the team. There was a lot of concern in the fan base when the rumors first came out. Those fans can now rest easy as it appears Waller won’t be going anywhere this season.
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Why Did the Packers Leak This Story?
From the Packers’ perspective, it makes a lot of sense to leak that they’re interested in a Waller trade. First of all, he’s a great player and is on a reasonable contract. They need offensive weapons and he’d help fill the void left by Adams. Also, showing trade interest in a proven weapon like Waller proves to quarterback Aaron Rodgers that they are committed to adding talent around him.
Rodgers has been vocal about the Packers not giving him weapons and Waller would easily be the most talented tight end he’s been able to play with. Waller is clearly not gettable right now so it shows Green Bay’s commitment to trying to add talent without actually having to do anything serious. It’s a wise move on their part but Waller is staying in Las Vegas for now.
Waller Could Still Get Traded Next Offseason
It looks like Waller isn’t going anywhere this season but that doesn’t mean his long-term future is in Las Vegas. He’s only making $7.45 million annually on his current contract, which is less than half of the $15 million a year George Kittle is making. Waller is going to want to be paid like one of the best tight ends in the NFL and he’s going to want it before his current contract is up.
Vic Tafur of The Athletic believes that Waller will be traded next offseason as the team can’t feasibly pay all of their star players.
Now, if Waller catches a hundred passes and breaks 1,000 receiving yards, then the Raiders might see him as a necessary piece. A lot could be riding on this season for Waller. If he gets hurt and misses time again, that could mess up his chances of getting a huge contract. However, he can also increase his value in a big way with a great season.