Darren Waller

What Could A Darren Waller Contract Extension Look Like?

Before the 2020 season, the Las Vegas Raiders and Darren Waller agreed upon a four-year, $29.8 million contract extension. That was before Waller grew into one of the premier tight ends in the league, and it still felt like a steal. Now, Waller has cemented himself as an elite tight end, and that $6 million yearly salary looks criminal.

Darren still has two years left on that contract, and after the 2023 season he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. With large contracts in all areas of the Raiders’ roster, finding the money for Waller’s extension may prove difficult. Waller is a fan favorite and is one of Derek Carr’s favorite targets. The two have tremendous chemistry, and there is a very slim chance we don’t see Waller get another contract with the Raiders. Let’s take a look at some possible contract scenarios involving Waller.

The Absolute Lowest For Darren Waller? Four years, $55 million

In the past week, the Browns signed their own tight end to a contract extension. David Njoku was rewarded by Cleveland with $54.7 million over four years. There is absolutely no way Darren Waller’s next contract will be lower than this.

Njoku has been in the league for six years, while Waller has been here for just five. In those six years, Njoku has a total of 1,754 yards, on 15 touchdowns and 148 receptions. In one less year, Waller has 3,184 yards with 16 touchdowns and 270 receptions.

Waller has far outperformed Njoku at this point in their careers. Njoku is a very talented player, and he just received a life-changing amount of money. That should be celebrated. It was also likely celebrated by Darren Waller and his agent, and they now know there is absolutely no way Waller will accept anything less than this.

The Absolute Highest: Three Years/Four Years, $70 million

Currently, the tight end in the NFL making the highest amount of money is George Kittle. Kittle is currently on a massive deal with the 49ers, making about $75 million over five years. He will be a free agent in 2026.

While Waller is an extremely talented tight end, he isn’t quite on Kittle’s level. Kittle has missed several games in the past two years, playing in just 22 out of the past 33 regular season games over the past two years. Because of that, it is unfair to judge his total season stats, but he clears Waller in per-game stats. Every year that both of these players have been starting tight ends in the NFL, Kittle has totaled more yards per game than Waller. Kittle has also beaten Waller in receptions-per-game every year except for 2020. Kittle has finished each year with more touchdowns as well, except for 2020.

In addition to this, Kittle is more effective in the run game. That’s not to claim that Waller isn’t a good blocker; he is. Still, Kittle is an absolute force as a lead blocker, more so than Waller. Ultimately, Waller is a tremendous player, but he isn’t on the level of Kittle and won’t make as much money as him.

The Right Contract? Four Years, $60 Million

Ultimately, the deal for Waller has to be somewhere in between the two we’ve already discussed, Njoku and Kittle. The next two highest contracts after Kittle’s are for Travis Kelce and Dallas Goedert, who are making $57 million each.

Whether Kelce or Waller is the better player is a toss-up, and there is definitely an argument to be made for both. What is equal is the importance of each player to their team. Both players are equally important to their respective offenses, and in a league where each contract is higher than the next, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Waller’s extension to be slightly higher than Kelce’s.

When Darren Waller and his agent walk into that negotiation room, there is absolutely no way they will accept a contract for less money than what Dallas Goedert is earning. For reference, Goedert is making $57 million on a four-year deal. Dallas is a good tight end, but he is not on Waller’s level and his contract will not be less than that. The Raiders won’t have enough money to give Waller a contract like Kittle’s, but a four-year, $60 million deal is fair for both sides.

*Top Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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