Darren Waller emerged after four seasons off the NFL radar to become the Raiders’ centerpiece pass catcher, taking over after the franchise’s Antonio Brown– and Tyrell Williams-dependent plan failed. Waller has since signed two Raiders extensions. This season, however, has not featured much production or availability from the former comeback story.
The Pro Bowl tight end is now on IR due to a nagging hamstring injury. Prior to going on IR, Waller had not played since Week 5. He managed eight snaps against the Chiefs, before going down with what has become a season-defining malady. He and the Raiders may not be in lockstep regarding this injury, with Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicating Waller has become a source of frustration for the team.
Effort, or lack thereof, to return from this injury has created this wedge between the recently extended tight end and the team. An injury to his other hamstring during training camp — viewed by some as a hold-in measure amid contract talks — led to a prolonged absence. Waller, 30, returned in time for Week 1 but missed three full games prior to being placed on IR.
Other players have seen hamstring injuries flare up this season — most notably Keenan Allen, whose injury against the Raiders in Week 1 has led to the veteran Charger missing most of the year — and it is a bit premature to accuse Waller of not doing what it takes to return in time. But this Raiders season has skidded well off track; tension is mounting.
[RELATED: Packers Attempted To Acquire Waller At Deadline]
“Some of the things that a lot of us try to do just to practice, what we put our bodies through just to sleep at night, and for that to be the result of all that effort? It pisses me off,” Derek Carr said following the Raiders’ loss to the Colts, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “It pisses a lot of guys off. It’s hard knowing what some guys are doing — like I said — just to practice, what they’re putting in their body just to sleep at night just so we can be there for each other, and I wish everybody in that room felt the same way about this place.”
Hammering this point home, Davante Adams also said not enough players are “fully bought in.” Neither player named Waller nor singled out anyone else. But the Raiders’ two highest-paid performers citing teammates for insufficient effort is obviously noteworthy. The Raiders are in the early stages of their Josh McDaniels–Dave Ziegler retooling effort. Attempting to quiet any McDaniels one-and-done rumors, Mark Davis said he is committed to his coach for 2023.
Waller’s three-year, $51MM deal — agreed to in September after the two-time 1,000-yard pass catcher had slipped nearly out of the top 20 for AAV at his position — tops the tight end market. But the contract included only $19.25MM fully guaranteed (ninth among tight ends). Waller’s new years do not begin until 2024, but the rest of his guarantees pay out by 2023. That gives the Raiders more flexibility than is usually afforded so soon into a top-market deal. Las Vegas has seen its top three pass catchers — Adams, Waller and Hunter Renfrow — play all of 62 snaps together this season, contributing to the team’s 2-7 record. Neither Renfrow nor Waller has fared well since signing their respective extensions.
It is too early to speculate on Waller’s place with the team beyond 2022, but the former Ravens draftee did well to secure more in guarantees before the hamstring injury dropped his value. A knee injury cost Waller a chunk of last season. If he comes off IR when first eligible (Week 14), Waller will have missed 13 games over the past two years. It will be interesting to see if Waller can return at that point and build some momentum for next season.
21 comments on “Raiders Frustrated With TE Darren Waller?”
Should have traded him if frustrated with his production.
How McDaniels still has a job today is beyond me. Oh wait, it’s the Raiders, it’s not beyond me. Makes perfect sense
Being a Raider fan for a long time, very little surprises me when it comes to ineptitude. This is just another example. They had a decent thing going last year with Rich coaching and the culture they were building, so of course Mark went in a different direction and chased a guy who was an abysmal failure in his first run as a HC in Denver. He likes those splashy “name” hires at HC, and he had to have Hoodie Jr. He got him and now McDaniels is predictably failing. Mark is too broke to fire him this early in the contract, which means we’re in for 2 or 3 years of another rebuild that goes nowhere before the next regime is brought in to give it a go. I’ve seen this movie before and already know how it ends.
Come on, how reasonable are you being. Its not 2 years in, its not even a complete season. I think that you’re being very unreasonable. The coach needs at least 2 to 3 years.
Sometimes you don’t need multiple years to see something. I’m not judging McDaniels on the defense because that’s been a disaster for awhile, and I figured there’d be no way he’d magically turn that around.
The offensive side of the ball -McDaniels’ side- has taken a huge step back, though. I realize they’ve had some injuries, but they also added Adams. That’s concerning. Even if you want to give him a pass because of those injuries, what about the chemistry issues?
Last year the Raiders played like a family. You could see they were having fun and it produced results. You don’t have to read between the lines all that much to tell that there is tension in that locker room this year, though. This was a problem McDaniels had in Denver, too.
I’m just not a big believer that the “Patriot Way” is a concept that works. It benefited a lot from having one of the all-time great QBs willing to play for half of what he should’ve been been making.
He was the perfect candidate for an incentive heavy extension, but nooooooooo
The player actually has to accept the contract, and Waller knew if the Raiders weren’t going to guarantee the bag someone else would. No chance he was going to accept an incentive heavy extension.
Same result regardless.
Lol carr telling raiders not to include waller in tae deal…
waller is an animal let him recover from his hamstring injury however he wants. we’ve won 2 games this season we ain’t going anywhere so it’s not like it matters if he comes back this season. tank for carr’s replacement
Carr has a better chance of holding up past this season than does Waller. I get what you’re saying, but QBs today can play far into their 30s more than any other position. Carr is definitely not the Raiders’ biggest problem.
Didn’t really know where to write this so maybe I’ll copy and paste it a couple times but here goes:
The NFL, A trillion dollar business has the worst officiating in the history of sports. Not only the worst officiating, But the stupidest rules I’ve ever seen.
The WR’s can pick play the DB’s but the DB’s can’t lay a hand on the WR’s.
The 5 yard rule is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Pretty much any play in the NFL this year you can see somebody get hit, Not that I blame the defenders but what else can they do?
The illegal hands to the face rule only gets called on the defense. A RB can throw a stiff arm into the defender and knock his head off but it’s a one way street.
The PI rule is a joke. Now I admit, Most of you know me as a Bears fan so you might say it’s sour grapes. And maybe so. But I’ve seen it all through the League. Eddie Jackson makes a great play and turns around and plays the ball the way he’s supposed to and gets a flag and Chase Claypool gets mugged by 2 guys, Neither of which was turned around by the way and no flag.
I just heard the Bills had 12 guys on the field for a play, IN OVERTIME NO LESS, And nobody noticed. Really? They can’t even count anymore.
I’d say it can’t get any worse, But I know better. Goodell doesn’t just owe the Bears an apology, He owes every fan in the league an apology for the lame way they train and supervise their officials. Plus the Rules committee needs to be terminated immediately because nobody knows how to write a rule much less teach somebody to officiate it.If they make it any harder to play defense, They might as well just let the offense start on the other teams 1 yard line and stop the pretense.
Look the Bears traded their 3 best defensive players and I’m not expecting them to put up shutouts, But the last 2 games have been officiated so poorly, The 85 Bears would of lost with those rules and those officials. Goodell, You S**k. But then you always have.
Anger issues ?
Maybe, and it may not be the most eloquent way to put it, but he’s not wrong…except maybe about considering NFL officiating worse than NBA officiating.
Maybe he’s drinking again
You still think the NFL is legitimate and that the league doesn’t manipulate game flow to keep the audience as long as possible? Guess you haven’t seen everything.
twentyforty it’s amazing how your point aligns so well with the “tri-exclusive” partnership with DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesers, along with so-called “secondary deals” with BetMGM, WynnBet, FoxBet, and PointsBet.
It used to be you could not bet on an event once it started, now you can place a bet up until the final whistle. This brought in over $56 million per team last year.
I am going to take the officials side on this to an extent. Their rule book is ridiculous in fact they have a rule book an exception book and an exception to the other exception. You have to search through 3 different books to find an answer at times.
They are human and will make mistakes in officiating a rule or the way it is used. There is a lot to learn and many of them study harder than you for your final exams in college.
I have found an interesting thing from Instagripe. People that think they know the rules have zero clue. Then they will beat others down because they wear people out and they stop posting. Most of you probably have an instagram acct. and have probably seen a what do you think post. They are I swear for tiny brained idiot that wants to show how smart he is. Anyone who disagrees is belittled and dumped on. I say this because I see it a lot people getting mad at a call they know they are right and the Ref is wrong. I will tell you they are correct.
Does this mean I agree with some rules. No I don’t. I think they need to drop some and fine tune a bunch more. The problem isn’t the officials as much as it is the rotating rules. Let’s have a rule you can’t tackle the QB below the waist. Then we add one about touching the head. So now you have some huge LBer bearing down on the QB and he has a 3 foot area to hit him. So the QB slides right before he gets there. He gets hit in the head and the flags start flying. If he would have been a yard farther up no call.
I know many that read this will blow it off or think I have no clue. I reffed HS ball for 19 years an injury made me stop. I reffed numerous mens Semi Pro using the NFL rules kind of. They gave us a condensed version and we didn’t have the exception books so some of it was difficult to figure out. You will still yell at your TV as will I but think something might have happened to make an exception or two. So it isn’t cut and dry as some might think.
So you’re agreeing with me that there is a problem, But you’re saying the problem isn’t the referees it’s the rules themselves. Well basically that’s what I said. The Rules committee is as much to blame as the NFL for not doing something about. It seems nothing ever gets done until there’s that ONE call that outrages everybody. The reason we’re in this PI nightmare is because of that Saints game. And I’m not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, The people on there are just petty, Vindictive and cheap shot artists. Not that everyone here is sane. Why you can’t compel a replay when the call is so obviously missed is beyond me. An official in the booth who can stop a play and compel a replay is needed badly. Now, will THAT guy be any better than the rest or trained any better for that matter? Not if Goodell is still in charge. Trillion Dollar business, 10 cent Commissioner.
Maybe check him to see if he’s poppin pills again like he did when he was a Raven.
Don’t underestimate the role that McDaniels may have in this disagreement. His Bronco tenure showed that he did not get along with the players or his own coaches, most notably demonstrated when he drove the Broncos two best players at the time (Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler) right out of town.