On Monday, the Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Darren Waller. A day later, Gruden said he made a “stupid decision” and that he was “embarrassed” by it. He also said Waller is “a good guy.”
Jon Gruden’s comments about Darren Waller will cost the Raiders millions. The Oakland Raiders signed the free agent wide receiver to a one-year deal worth $4 million in March, but Gruden said that Waller would not be on the team after last season. Read more in detail here: jon gruden.
The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a thrilling Week 1 victory against the Baltimore Ravens, led by Jon Gruden. Derek Carr seemed to be a genuine franchise quarterback, tight end Darren Waller was unstoppable, and the team’s defensive line created enough havoc up front to throw Lamar Jackson off his game.
Everything was well in Raider land until Gruden made some ill-advised remarks regarding Waller after the victory.
Jon Gruden on Darren Waller: ‘He’s the greatest player I’ve ever coached’
Chris Unger/Getty Images/Darren Waller (#83)
Waller is coming off a 10-catch, 105-yard performance, and Gruden is ecstatic about his team’s upset victory against Baltimore, so it’s natural for him to heap praise on him. The six-year veteran TE has worked hard to establish himself as a top receiving threat since joining the Raiders. Many believe him to be the third-best tight end in the league.
To put it simply, Waller is deserving of every accolade. Gruden’s timing, on the other hand, has the potential to sabotage the Raiders’ front office.
Waller has allegedly recruited a new agent and is seeking for a new deal with the Raiders as soon as possible.
Darren Waller has the ability to make the Raiders break the bank.
Waller, who just switched agents in the hopes of landing a new contract (his current one expires in three years), will be clipping and storing this one for his files. https://t.co/T7XH5bgrZt
September 14, 2021 — Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo)
Waller’s contract has been widely regarded as one of the best deals in the NFL so far. His yearly pay is just $7.45 million on average. In comparison to other tight ends in the NFL, he is rated 12th (Over The Cap). His pay is significantly lower than that of rookie Kyle Pitts.
While Waller’s contract isn’t up for renewal until 2024, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he and his new agent played hardball with Gruden and the Raiders.
In today’s NFL, it’s not unusual for overachievers to hold out in the midst of a contract. Furthermore, Waller’s decision to choose a new agency indicates his dissatisfaction with previous representation.
Why should you continue to play for such a cheap wage when you’re a top-three tight end in the league?
* 10 receptions, 105 yards, 1 touchdown in the last six games by Darren Waller * 9 catches, 117 yards, 1 touchdown in the previous six games by Darren Waller * 5 receptions for 112 yards * 9 receptions for 150 yards, 1 touchdown * 7 receptions for 75 yards * 13 receptions for 200 yards, 2 touchdowns
September 14, 2021 — Field Yates (@FieldYates)
For what it’s worth, Gruden didn’t seem to be attempting to destabilize his own front office. He was trying to recognize his top-performing player after an emotional Week 1 victory. Even the most innocuous acts, however, may have repercussions.
As Mike Garafolo points out, Waller and his new agency will keep this remark in mind for future reference. When the team’s head coach refers to Waller as the “greatest player” he’s ever coached, it’s difficult to dismiss his demands for more money.
There’s no assurance that Waller will try to persuade the Raiders’ front management to increase his salary. The signals, on the other hand, seem to indicate in that way. He’s probably the team’s top player, he’s highly compensated, and he’ll almost certainly have another strong statistical season.
If the Raiders made the playoffs this season, Waller’s argument for a raise would be much stronger.
In the end, Gruden’s remark was a healthy, feel-good statement. However, it’s difficult to overlook the possible financial consequences for Las Vegas’ cap space.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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