The Oakland Raiders pulled the trigger on shoring up another building block for their team by signing tight end Darren Waller to a three-year extension heading into Week 7 of the 2019 NFL season.
Waller spent his first season in Oakland as a relatively unknown commodity on the roster. However, he is now in the midst of a breakout campaign after emerging as one of the more notable surprises in the season thus far.
It is no secret that the Raiders have struggled to shore up some viable weapons in the passing game thanks to the depleted state of the receiving corps. Waller was able to take full advantage by showing just how important he has become to the offense and has now been rewarded for it.
He admits he is still getting used to the fact he was able to secure a long-term future in Oakland, via Kyle Martin of the team’s official website:
“It’s incredible to me, it’s hard for me in my mind to think what I’ll be like in 2024, but I just try to let the days stack and it’ll handle itself,” Waller told reporters Thursday. “It means a lot to me to do that, still – don’t want to say disbelief – but it’s just still surreal to me. I was, last year, sitting in that same room signing my contract coming from Baltimore. I just didn’t want to mess this up, so now to have something in place is incredible.”
Waller added that he is focused on providing the team with plenty of bang for their buck:
“I feel like it just shows that I can contribute to a team and just be someone that’s reliable, can be counted on,” he shared. “That wasn’t the case before, so I just take pride in doing that, and everything else happened. Let the results take care of itself, but I just try to be a good teammate first and foremost and be a part of the family. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
Although Waller may have been somewhat surprised to sign his extension, it was essentially a no-brainer for the Raiders given his contributions this season. He has emerged as quarterback Derek Carr‘s most trusted option in the passing game and his rare combination of size and speed makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders.
Although Waller has brought in 37 receptions for 359 yards through five games, he is still looking to haul in his first touchdown of the year in the coming weeks.
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