What does the Raiders’ receiving additions mean for tight-end Darren Waller? – NFL Nation

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HENDERSON, Nev. – Hunter Renfrow comes after a season with 103 catches for the Las Vegas Raiders. Darren Waller set a franchise record of 107 passes two years ago. And Davante Adams, acquired in a huge success with the Green Bay Packers in March, has had at least 111 receptions in three of the past four years.

A good problem for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to have this season? Maybe. But are there enough balls to keep everyone happy?

Renfrow nodded before talking about Waller and Adams.

“Two very, very selfless guys who … put the team before themselves,” Renfrow said. “It must be a focus for all of us – that the success of the team is far superior to individual success.

“It does not matter if we have 50 catches this season each, as long as we win. That’s the ultimate goal. That’s all that matters. And I think if we have that mentality, then it’s pretty easy to go and do it. “

Easy for Renfrow to say, right? After all, he joined Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby in signing multi-year contract extensions this offseason, while Adams signed a massive deal with Las Vegas (to be fair, Renfrow made that statement before being extended) .

Prominent by his absence from the list is Waller, a top-3 tight end in the league who is being paid well below market value and, yes, also hoping for an extension. It’s just … he’s not making a scene yet, or stinking over it.

“I just focus on enjoying while I’m here, whether I’m here for 10 years or who knows how long,” Waller said. “My agent’s job is to do that and I’m just focusing on the football part. Because if you are not focusing on football and your mind is somewhere else …”

Waller walked a little.

“You have to be locked in as a professional,” he continued. “So I try to be professional every day.”

And therein lies the rubbish.

Because Waller, who turns 30 two days after the Raiders opened the season with the Los Angeles Chargers, could potentially see his production fall with Renfrow’s ascent in place and the addition of Adams on the outside. And if it does, it could have a negative effect on the negotiations if an extension is not implemented before the season.

Especially due to knee and back injuries that limited Waller to 11 games, 55 catches and two TDs last season (he had a total of 197 catches, on 262 goals, for 2,341 yards and 12 TDs in 2019 and 2020, when he was named to the Pro Bowl).

Catch-22, a lot?

Consider: Waller’s four-year extension of $ 29.8 million in 2019 makes him only the 17th.th-highest paid tight-end in the NFL in the form of AAV. And no money is guaranteed for 2022 or 2023.

More salt? The Cleveland Browns recently gave untested David Njoku a four-year deal worth up to $ 56.75 million, and the San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle, who has a tight end-high AAV of $ 15 million, has exceeded 85 receptions once in five seasons.

Maybe that’s why, when asked if Adams joined him, Renfrow and Carr in coach Josh McDaniels’ attack, Waller was pragmatic.

He was referring to Miami Heat’s “Big Three” when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in 2010.

“The first year, it may not have clicked the way they wanted it to because it requires chemistry,” Waller said, referring to the Heat, who fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. “It works great on ‘Madden’ and ‘2K’, but guys have to accept roles and, ‘OK, that’s the situation I feel best in’, and then just bring a certain level of selflessness to the table. And know, that everything we do is about time. “

Side note: Waller has been represented since September last year by James’ agency, Klutch Sports Group.

“As guys, we’ve achieved individual things on our own,” Waller said, “and now, you know, maybe sacrificing it a little bit to help the collective achieve what they want to achieve.”

All of this sounds good to McDaniels.

“Darren, he’s done everything we’d asked him to do, and more,” McDaniels said. “He’s obviously a good player. We love having him here. He’s really a pleasure to train the guy. He comes with a great attitude and mindset every day. Works really hard. Here early, gets late, does extra, takes care his body. Do many of the things that you would like any player to do and obviously he has been productive with his options. So love having him here and look forward to training him. “

Plus, he’s got Waller to watch tapes of former New England Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski to show Waller what should be waiting for him in McDaniels’ plan.

As Waller, who endured trade rumors in the spring, put it, the band should be named Gronk Running Wild.

“Up the seams, over routes, short passes and blowing through people, pass fades on the outside,” Waller said. “He stands up everywhere and does everything, really.

“It’s exciting to see a lot of ways I want to be used. It’s a challenging system, but I love a good challenge. I think it brings out the best in us.”

But will that force the Raiders to bring the checkbook back?

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