Oakland already controlled Waller’s rights for the 2020 campaign, as the former sixth-round pick had been scheduled to become a restricted free agent next spring. Waller’s new deal is essentially a three-year extension on top of what would have been a one-year RFA tender, tweets Pelissero, adding Waller will collect roughly $9MM annually under his new pact.
Waller has played in just five games as a result of the Raiders’ early bye week, but he still ranks second to only Austin Hooper in receptions among tight ends, and is sixth at the position with 359 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus grades Waller as the league’s ninth-best run-blocking tight end.
Waller, 27, was selected by the Ravens in the 2015 draft. Suspended twice by the NFL (the second time for a full season), Waller has since courageously overcome addictions involving cocaine and opiates. Oakland signed him off Baltimore’s practice squad last November, and has been rewarded with one of the more surprising stories of the 2019 season.
While full details of Waller’s extension aren’t in just yet, a $9MM annual average would rank fifth among tight ends behind Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, Kyle Rudolph, and Greg Olsen. In terms of guarantees, Trey Burton leads the way with the $22MM he received under his free agent deal with the Bears.