Given his status as one of professional football’s most feared weapons, it stands to reason that Darren Waller is one of the NFL’s most coveted players. And someone any team would pay a high price for.
None of this escapes the Raiders, for whom he has been one of the brightest lights over the past three seasons.
And why, according to the strongest clues, they have no desire to part with him.
Knowing Waller’s value, it makes sense the Green Bay Packers asked the Raiders to include him in last month’s blockbuster trade that sent wide receiver Davante Adams to Las Vegas.
It turns out that including Waller in a trade for a player with an unsigned franchise tag designation — which Adams was at the time — is against league rules. These players can only be traded for draft picks, not another player. This rendered any Packers request for Waller immediately moot.
Not that the Raiders would have forced him anyway.
Overall, though, it makes sense that teams would be interested in moving Waller away from the Raiders. After all, who wouldn’t want a 6-foot-6 stagger, walking and talking on their team?
As a result, a report from Cheesehead TV’s Aaron Nagler that surfaced Monday indicating the Packers’ continued interest in negotiating for Waller should come as no surprise. They’re probably not the only team to have made overtures, either.
None of that is lost on the Raiders, who value Waller as much or no more than the other 31 teams in the league.
According to the report, the Packers and Raiders “have entered into talks regarding a Waller trade in preparation for a deal reached in this week’s NFL Draft.”
While the Packers might covet Waller, the Raiders have no interest in moving him.
This is the case now more than ever given the tantalizing possibilities of a mega tandem of Waller and Adams putting opposing defenses in the position of having to decide which player to protect against knowing full well that the other is likely to killing on its own as a result.
That was part of the reason the Raiders traded for Adams in the first place.
In a league where applying maximum pressure on opposing defenses is a lifeblood, the Raiders considered a Waller/Adams combo to be potentially the deadliest pairing in all of football.
These two, playing alongside quarterback Derek Carr, slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and running back Josh Jacobs, have a chance to lift the Raiders’ offense in rarefied air.
That’s why the Raiders paid such a high price to make it all happen in the first place.
After sending their first and second round draft picks to Green Bay to acquire Adams, it makes no sense for them to turn around and dismantle what they just built by removing one of the key components. .
That’s the thought process within Raiders headquarters. Although history has proven you can never say never, the Raiders are much more eager to take a look at an offense that, on paper at least, looks as explosive as any in the game. NFL than they are by trading Waller to move up in the draft. .
That’s not to say the Raiders would never consider dealing with Waller. As he enters the last two years of the friendly contract he signed in 2019 – he is expected to earn $6.8 million in 2021 and $7 million in 2022 – Waller will likely ask for a new deal sooner rather than later. . One that reflects his status as one of the NFL’s top three tight ends.
At this point, the Raiders will have to weigh all the usual dynamics involved in extending a player. If for some reason they decide Waller’s asking price doesn’t match their roster and salary cap plans, they may become more receptive to trade offers.
But these decisions appear in at least a year. Meanwhile, Waller’s participation in the Raiders’ offseason program — including this week’s voluntary minicamp — doesn’t reflect a player willing to push for a new contract.
For now, he seems content to play within the terms of his contract. Perhaps with an eye to initiating serious contract negotiations next offseason.
All the more reason the Raiders have no interest in making the type of unforced error that it would be to accept trade offers for their star tight end.
Let him actually trade it.