Raiders Rumors: Darren Waller in Contract Talks That Would Make Him Highest-Paid TE

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2022

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Darren Waller and the Las Vegas Raiders reportedly held discussions about a new deal that would make him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL at about $16 million per year, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.

The average annual value would top San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, who has a $15 million average salary.

The discussions come after Waller fired his agent at Klutch Sports last week. He cannot hire a new agent officially until Wednesday after the five-day waiting period, but he is reportedly expected to hire Drew Rosenhaus, per Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Waller is currently signed through 2023, although his $7.45 million average salary ranks just 17th among tight ends.

The 29-year-old has outplayed the initial four-year deal signed in 2019, topping 1,100 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons. Waller went to the Pro Bowl in 2020 after totaling 107 catches for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns, ranking in the top 10 in the league in each category.

Injuries became a bigger story in 2021, limiting Waller to 11 games while totaling 55 catches for 665 yards and two touchdowns.

Even after a down year, the Raiders believe the tight end is a key part of the future:

Mick Akers @mickakers

Raiders owner Mark Davis on Darren Waller rumors: “There’s nothing going on with Darren Waller, except he’s a Raider.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/vegas?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#vegas</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a> <a href="https://t.co/NhyiNeQyVJ">pic.twitter.com/NhyiNeQyVJ</a>

The latest report shows even more how highly they think of Waller as they potentially reset the market at the position.

There are still two years left on Waller's contract, and he has said he doesn't plan to hold out, which reduces the pressure on the team to complete a new deal. The change in agents could still indicate a move is coming soon as the Raiders lock down a key player in their offense.