AP Photo/John McCoy
After some trade speculation earlier this offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders rewarded Darren Waller with a three-year, $51 million contract extension, agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“It was one of the toughest negotiations I’ve encountered,” Rosenhaus noted.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted details of the deal:
Tom Pelissero @Tom Pelissero
That’s a roughly $10 million increase over two years for Waller, whose old contract was still two years old. In exchange, the #Raiders lock in their bounty on what amounts to a series of option teams through 2026.
He can also earn a $250,000 Pro Bowl incentive each year.
With the extension, Waller now owes $66.25 million over the next five seasons, per Schetter.
The Raiders surprised everyone in March when they acquired Davante Adams in a trade from the Green Bay Packers. They also signed the five-time Pro Bowler to a five years, $141.25 million contract, the largest contract for a wide receiver in NFL history.
The trade reunited Adams with quarterback Derek Carr. They played together for two seasons at Fresno State from 2012 to 2013.
Putting Adams on the same field as Waller and Hunter Renfrow seemed like a nightmare scenario for opposing defenses. Renfrow set career highs with 103 receptions, 1,038 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2021.
The Raiders also gave Renfrow an extension earlier in the offseason. The 26-year-old signed a over two years, $32 million agreement on June 11 which keeps him under contract throughout the 2024 season.
Waller had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020. He missed six games last season but still finished with 55 receptions and 665 yards in 11 starts.
In April, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported that the Packers wanted a first-round pick and “an undisclosed player” from the Raiders in exchange for Adams.
Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV later reported that the Packers were interested in acquiring Waller, who was “apparently” the player they originally wanted to return from Las Vegas in the Adams trade.
After the release of Nagler’s report, Carr laughed at the possibility of Waller being traded:
Derek Carr @derekcarrqb
Lol no luck. https://t.co/vINVlgdSMj
There was no sense of urgency for the Raiders to strike a new deal with Waller. His previous contract lasted the entire 2023 season with salaries of $6.25 million every year. The 29-year-old has been one of the NFL’s most productive tight ends since 2019.
The Raiders are clearly trying to build a team that can compete with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos in a busy AFC West. Waller’s presence makes it a little easier.
An offensive core of Carr, Adams, Waller and Hunter Renfrow has the potential to be special. This group should be together for years to come as the Raiders chase their Premier League title since 2002.