The Las Vegas Raiders will have one of their top targets on the field for their season opener, regardless of whether he gets a contract extension between now and then. Tight end Darren Waller sat out much of training camp with a bothersome hamstring, but confirmed this week that he plans to play against the division rival Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Waller spoke a bit about his contract situation, which has been in the balance throughout the offseason. He recently changed agents, presumably in the hope of getting something done sooner rather than later, to keep him in silver and black for a while longer.
“We’ll see, man,” Waller said of getting a new deal, via The Athletic. “There’s not really a lot of things that I can control, you know? I have faith in my representation. Whether it goes one way or it doesn’t, I’ll be playing football. I’ll just let it happen how it does.”
Waller also made it known that he has no ill will toward the team or the front office due to a deal not getting done just yet.
“Communication has been there with my previous representation and now,” Waller said. “I’m cool with that, and yeah it takes time, maybe a little longer than expected. But I trust them, they’ve been open with me. I really respect (Raiders GM) Dave (Ziegler) and how he’s gone about the process. I believe in this organization, I believe in my representation, so yeah, I feel like it will get done. I can attack the season now. We’re at Week 1, so nothing that happened before matters.”
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Waller has been one of the league’s top tight ends over the last three seasons, racking up receiving lines of 90-1145-7, 107-1196-9, and 55-665-2 (in 11 games). He’s expected to again be one of the top targets for quarterback Derek Carr this season, albeit likely a bit behind offseason acquisition Davante Adams. Waller will turn 30 years old next week, but he has less mileage than your typical 30-year-old due to the relatively late start to his career. He should have at least a few more productive years left under his belt.