This offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders got an exciting new weapon in Davante Adams. Though Darren Waller is a tight end, he’s been Derek Carr’s top target for three seasons now. With Adams coming in, Waller’s role could take a big hit as so much focus has been put on the new wide receiver.
However, new head coach Josh McDaniels loves tight ends and Waller might be the most athletically gifted one he’s had the chance to coach. General manager Dave Ziegler knows how special the tight end is.
“He’s explosive,” Ziegler said recently. “He’s a big man that runs really fast. So, it’s pretty unique for a guy that size to be as fast and as explosive as Darren is.”
The addition of Adams could actually be a boost to Waller. He’s been the main focus for defenses playing the Raiders for the last two seasons but it’s difficult to focus on him when Adams is on the outside. He had a down year last season due to injury but should have a big season if he stays healthy.
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Ziegler Praises Waller’s Character
Waller’s story of overcoming addiction is well known at this point. He went from almost being out of the NFL to being named a team captain for the Raiders last season. He’s developed into a leader of the team. Ziegler is impressed with the person that Waller is.
“Also, (he) is an outstanding young man,” Ziegler said. “You know, a hard worker. I think everybody knows Darren and his story and I think it’s remarkable … his perseverance and what he’s done to get to where he’s at is something to be admired and I know I admire him both as a person and as a player and we’re excited to have him.”
Ziegler certainly sounds high on Waller’s character off the field and ability on the field.
What’s Waller’s Future With the Raiders?
Waller is one of the team’s most important players and having Adams on the team could unlock his true potential. Some might see the wide receiver as a threat to his production but Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs has broken 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons while playing with Tyreek Hill. The Raiders should have a high-powered offense and Adams’ addition shouldn’t hurt Waller.
However, the tight end’s future with the team could get a little murky. The Raiders were wise to give him a team-friendly contract extension before he broke out. He’s only making $7.45 million a year. Last year, he hired Klutch Sports to represent him. That agency hasn’t made too much of a splash in the NFL yet but they are famous in NBA circles for getting players what they want. George Kittle is making double of what Waller is but he’s under contract for two more seasons. It’s a matter of when, not if, Waller will demand a better contract. It’s been quiet on that front so far but there’s no doubt the tight end is going to want more money soon. Can the Raiders afford to pay Adams, Deter Carr and Hunter Renfrow big money? That remains to be seen.
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