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Raiders' Darren Waller on Contract Extension Talks: Whatever Happens, I'm Playing

Adam WellsJuly 23, 2022

Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders star Darren Waller isn't going to let contract negotiations impact his decision about suiting up for next season.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Waller said "whatever happens" with contract talks, he is "here playing."

Waller still has two years and $12.5 million in base salary remaining on his deal, but the 29-year-old has certainly outperformed that contract.

Per Spotrac, Waller's $7.5 million average annual salary ranks 17th among tight ends. The $29.8 million total value of his contract is 12th.

On the Ross Tucker Football Podcast in May (h/t Pro Football Talk's Charean Williams), Waller said his agent was talking with the Raiders about an extension:

"I understand it, but I know if I focus on it too much, it could take away from my job and learning a new system and just continuing to try to elevate and take care of my body in the right way. I try to focus on those things and let my agent handle that. When decisions need to be made, decisions need to be made."

George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers is the highest-paid tight end by total value ($75 million) and average annual value ($15 million). Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews are the only other tight ends making at least $14 million per season.

Over the past three seasons, Waller has racked up 3,006 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 43 games. He and Kelce are the only tight ends with multiple 1,000-yard seasons since the start of 2019.

The Raiders locked up Davante Adams with a five-year, $141.3 million contract in March after acquiring him from the Green Bay Packers. Adding him to Waller and Hunter Renfrow gives the team high expectations heading into this season.

Waller's production warrants an extension, but the Raiders can take comfort in knowing it doesn't sound like he will hold out if nothing comes of talks right now.

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