MONDAY, 1:49pm: Walker has officially put pen to paper, making his two-year extension official, as the Titans announced today (Twitter link).
FRIDAY, 5:34pm: Tight end Delanie Walker, who was preparing to head into a contract year, has agreed to terms on a new deal with the Titans that will lock him up beyond the 2016 season, the team announced today. Although the club didn’t specify the terms of the deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that it’s a two-year, $14.7MM extension, with $8.2MM in guarantees.
“Delanie is an integral piece of the offense,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said in a statement. “In my short time around him, he came in and bought into our philosophy of what Titan football is going to be about. Obviously he’s a Pro Bowl player with great individual statistics, but his commitment and his desire and willingness to compete to the team concept of wanting to win is as important. We are looking forward to his on-field performance, but his positive impact in the community as well.”
Schefter initially reported Walker’s new deal as a three-year pact, so it seems likely that it will keep him under contract through 2018 — two new years, and three overall. Assuming that’s the case, and $14.7MM is the base value of the extension, it would represent a nice salary bump for the veteran tight end, whose last deal was worth $4.375MM annually. A $7.35MM per-year salary would put Walker in line with Dwayne Allen, and right in between Jason Witten and Kyle Rudolph.
Walker, 31, enjoyed a career year and earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2015, his 10th NFL season. After averaging about 18 receptions per season from 2006 to 2012 in San Francisco, Walker has seen his production spike in Tennessee during the last three years. The former sixth-round pick broke the 60-catch threshold in 2013 and 2014, then exploded for 94 receptions, 1,088 yards, and six touchdowns in 2015 — all of those numbers are career highs.
Having landed a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota a year ago, the Titans continue to attempt to surround the young signal-caller with weapons — this offseason, the team has brought in running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, along with wide receiver Rishard Matthews. So while Walker figures to remain one of Mariota’s favorite targets going forward, the veteran tight end may not be leaned on quite so heavily in 2016.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.