Understandably, most of the current contract concentration among the Las Vegas Raiders revolves around slot receiver standout Hunter Renfrow.
The 2019 fifth-round pick is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he caught 103 passes and he is eligible for a new contract now. Renfrow is scheduled to be a free agent next year. While Renfrow is a priority, the contract situation of star tight end Darren Waller also looms in Las Vegas.
Waller has two years remaining on his contract and he’s badly underpaid. As an emerging player in 2019, Waller, whose career took off after he signed with the Raiders in 2018, signed a four-year $29.8 million deal. Waller has far outperformed his contract.
#Raiders TE Darren Waller now ranks 17th in average pay, despite top tier production over the past 3 seasons. Expect some financial movement on this front.— Spotrac (@spotrac) May 27, 2022
Waller’s contract became even more out of whack Friday when the Cleveland Browns gave tight end David Njoku, who they gave the franchise tag to, a four-year $56.75 million deal with $28 million guaranteed. He is now the fifth highest paid tight end in the NFL.
The #Browns and franchise tagged TE David Njoku have reached an agreement in principle on a large new 4-year, $56.75M contract extension, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. He gets $28M guaranteed at signing on the deal that averages $14.1875M per year, the fifth highest paid TE.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 27, 2022
Waller has, by far, been a more productive player than Njoku. Since the start of 2019, Waller has 252 receptions for 3,006 yards and 14 touchdowns in 43 games. In the same period, Njoku has 60 catches for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in 33 games. The Njoku contract is already being panned.
Waller’s agents are surely paying attention. Two other tight ends, Miami’s Mike Gesicki and Dallas’ Dalton Schultz, have also been franchises and both could get new deals this offseason. So, Waller’s price tag is only going to rise.