Ravens’ Lamar Jackson Calls Out Darren Waller Over TE Rankings

lamar jackson

Getty Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson.

Though Darren Waller is coming off a down season due to injury, he did enough in the previous two seasons to cement himself as one of the top tight ends in the NFL. Most would rank the Las Vegas Raiders star as the second or third-best player at the position but he thinks highly of himself.

When asked to rank the best tight ends in the NFL on the “All Things Covered Podcast,” Waller ranked himself as the No. 1 tight end with Travis Kelce second, George Kittle third, Kyle Pitts fourth and Mark Andrews fifth.

Notably, Andrews was previously Waller’s teammate on the Baltimore Ravens and is coming off a massive season where he was named First-Team All-Pro. He’s always been a solid player but 2021 was his best season yet. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was the one who threw Andrews most of his targets last season and wasn’t pleased with Waller ranking him at five.

Jackson was also a brief teammate of Waller’s so it’s unlikely he’s trying to throw shade. Andrews does have an argument to be made that he should at least be ahead of Pitts at four. Some might even put him ahead of Waller coming off a down season but the Raiders tight end has been more consistent in recent years.

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Waller’s Contract Among Most Team-Friendly

One thing that stands out on Waller’s list is that he’s paid significantly less money than everybody else on the list outside of Kyle Pitts, who is on a rookie contract. Waller’s contract has been a major talking point this offseason as the Raiders have been big spenders. He’s only set to make $6.25 million in base salary next season. Pro Football Focus recently rated his contract as the most team-friendly deal on the Raiders:

Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow recently signed a two-year, $32 million extension that compares favorably to other predominantly slot receiver contracts, and it also creates a pretty fascinating benchmark in negotiations with Waller. Yes, it’s the first veteran contract for a 26-year-old Renfrow versus a second veteran deal for a soon-to-be 30-year-old Waller, but it’d be hard for the Raiders to argue Waller is not as valuable to the team.

He’s playing nice right now and showing up to practice but he’s going to want a contract soon.

Will Raiders Pay Waller?

Waller isn’t the type of player who will start drama because he wants a new contract. However, he recently hired Klutch Sports to represent him. While the agency has yet to make a name for itself in the NFL, it’s notorious in the NBA for getting players paid.

Waller deserves to be paid like a top tight end and he will be eventually. With the Raiders spending so much money this offseason on Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow, Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones and Davante Adams, there isn’t much money left to play with. Waller might have to wait until next offseason to see a big payday but he’ll still be under contract through the 2023 season.

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