Raiders Darren Waller: The “holdout” that was, and how it all came to an end
Waller finally gets his extension, but was he actually holding out?
After a long wait, Darren Waller joins those before him who get to cash out with a fancy, new deal in 2022.
Per league sources, the deal is a three-year extension with $51m being added to his now five-year contract with the Raiders.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero broke down exactly how his new contract shapes up.
This deal is heavily frontloaded, which bodes extremely well with a Raiders team that had $16 million in cap space they didn’t plan on spending. After the ’22 and ’23 seasons, everything becomes non-guaranteed.
Annually, Waller has become the sixth-highest paid tight end with a $13.2 million figure. This is without even factoring in all that non-guaranteed money.
Now that the battle is over, let’s review the question that most found themselves asking; was Darren Waller actually holding out?
Well, Waller had returned to practice an entire month before receiving his extension, so the answer is no. The Raiders’ first injury report was put out earlier in the week before this agreement came to be, and Waller wasn’t even listed. The Pro Bowler wanted a new contract, clearly, but there was never a holdout. Waller wanted to be a Raider, and the organization wanted him around as long as possible.
Even had Waller not returned to practice some time ago, this is not the kind of deal a player who was holding out looks to receive. Failing to break into the top-5 highest-paid of your position when you’re very clearly a top-5 tight end? Yeah, no. Furthermore, all of that non-guaranteed money? Half of his contract isn’t guaranteed, including the entirety of the ’24, ’25, and ’26 seasons.
If that’s the desired outcome in a holdout, holdouts would cease to exist as teams would gladly dish out such team-friendly contracts.
Waller indeed had a hamstring issue, and while it’s true the Pro Bowl tight end was hoping for a bump in pay, there was never a holdout here. This is a man too humble to even consider such a route. Take a look at what I mean.
In 2017, Waller was suspended from the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy. The 6’6 tight end went to rehab, and as part of getting his mind on the right path, he took a job at Sprouts Farmers Market stacking produce for $11 an hour. Today, upon signing his extension, Waller wore the shirt from his employment at the market.
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Everything is behind us now, and Darren Waller is a Raider for the next five seasons. For Waller, nothing has changed. He’s focused on the game, just as he has been throughout the entire “holdout” debacle. He hired a new agent to take care of his finances, never missing a step with Las Vegas. Cheers to five more years of dominance, Darren.