According to Cheesehead TV’s Aaron Nagler, citing a pair of league sources, the Green Bay Packers are interested in trading for Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller, a 2020 Pro Bowler. Per Nagler, Waller was originally part of the Davante Adams trade before the league office stepped in.
A source confirms with Acme Packing Company that the original trade compensation for the Adams trade was the 22nd overall pick and Waller, but there is an NFL rule about trading a franchise-tagged player who has yet to sign his deal for another player, which made Waller ineligible to be involved in the trade. Since Adams refused to sign the tender, the trade stalled from Monday, when the original offer was sent to the league office, until Thursday, when Waller was replaced with the Raiders’ second-round pick. A second-round pick, based on the original offer, is what I would assume is the proposed compensation for Waller in a pick-for-player trade.
Shortly after Adams was traded for, the Packers signed pass-catching tight end Robert Tonyan, still recovering from an ACL injury, to a one-year contract. That apparently isn’t stopping Green Bay from going after Waller, though, even if they could have traded that second-round pick back to the Raiders for Waller as soon as a month ago.
Waller is a great passing-downs tight end, a position that the team struggled at once Tonyan was lost for the season in 2021. Waller, who has recorded over 3,000 yards over the last three seasons, is looking for a new contract now that the guarantees have run out on his four-year, $29.8 million extension that was signed in 2019. Over the next two seasons, he is scheduled to make $6.8 million and $7 million in cash, which would equal his cap hits if traded on this current deal.
For reference, the last market-setting deal at the tight end position was George Kittle’s contract signed in 2020 for $75 million over five years ($15 million per year) that included $30 million guaranteed at signing. At the time, Kittle was a 27-year-old while Waller turns 30 in September. To say the least, there is a big difference between what Waller’s compensation will be if he honors the final two years of his contract or if this is a trade-and-sign situation like we’ve seen with Adams and Tyreek Hill earlier this offseason.