Darren Waller

Latest On Raiders’ Darren Waller

After initial speculation that Darren Waller‘s season might be over due to the knee injury he sustained during the Raiders’ Thanksgiving Day win in Dallas, the team has received good news on its top pass-catching weapon.

Waller only suffered a strain to the IT band in his knee, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (on Twitter). Indeed, no major damage is believed to have occurred here, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets.

Waller may need to miss some time to recover, though even this is not certain just yet. Even if Waller needs to sit next week, this update represents good news for a Las Vegas team hoping to have something to play for as this season winds down.

The former reclamation project is on pace for his third straight 1,000-yard season, and given the turmoil the Raiders have gone through this year, he serves as a key constant for the team going into a pivotal stretch. Waller has racked up 53 receptions this season, turning them into 643 yards and two touchdowns.

Before leaving Thursday’s game early, Waller had only missed one game this season — against Philadelphia in Week 7. He initially left his team’s Thanksgiving game with a back ailment but returned before ultimately being forced out because of his knee. The Raiders managed to win without notable Waller assistance, halting their three-game skid.

With Waller out, Las Vegas would stand to look to Foster Moreau and Daniel Helm to cover the tight end position. The Raiders will look forward to a speedy Waller recovery, as they sit one game back behind the division-leading Chiefs and a half-game back of the Chargers in the competitive AFC West.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Implements COVID-19 Policy Changes, Raiders Players Fined

In response to the growing number of positive COVID-19 tests around the league, the NFL is taking action. In a call with all 32 teams the league office laid out a slew of new policy changes, and sternly warned teams about the consequences of not following them.

In the memo recapping the call, which you can read courtesy of this tweet from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, they laid out some new protocols. The NFL and NFLPA jointly agreed to a “longer onboarding process” for free agent workouts, bans on gatherings outside the team facility, limits on the number of tryouts allowed per week, and the implementation of a “league-wide video monitoring system” to ensure teams are wearing masks and following protocols within their own buildings.

Details were sparse, but it sounds like Roger Goodell will now be watching what is going on within each facility. The line about gatherings outside the facility may have been directed toward the Raiders, who were just slapped with more fines after players were photographed mask-less at a fundraiser hosted by tight end Darren Waller. Waller was fined $30K for the incident, while Derek Carr, Derek Carrier, Zay Jones, Nevin Lawson, Erik Magnuson, Foster Moreau, Nathan Peterman, Hunter Renfrow, and Jason Witten were each fined $15K, according to a tweet from Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.

We just got word earlier that the Raiders had been fined $50K after an investigation into unauthorized locker room access, and the team and head coach Jon Gruden were fined hundreds of thousands for mask violations in Week 2.

Perhaps most significantly, the memo outlines potential extreme punishments for new violations. The memo says that any team that has a COVID-19 protocol violation which results in spreading of the virus that impacts scheduling or other teams may be subject to the loss of draft picks or potential forfeitures of games.

Forfeiting a game would be a truly nuclear option, and the fact that it was even broached shows how serious the league is taking threats to the rest of the season. That would seem to apply to a team like the Titans, which had a true outbreak which has caused the only actual postponement to date. The new free agent workout restrictions could make it harder for veterans on the market to find jobs. This surely isn’t the last we’ve heard on the subject, and we’ll keep you posted whenever anything new comes along.

Raiders Extend TE Darren Waller

The Raiders are signing breakout tight end Darren Waller to an extension through the 2023 season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the transaction.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Did Not Make Offer To Jared Cook

The Saints won the Jared Cook pursuit, with the Patriots being their top challenger. Jon Gruden said in January the Raiders would be in on this bid to bring Cook back, but they look to have bowed out early.

Cook never received an offer from the Raiders, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required), and the team stopped returning calls from the tight end’s agent.

After trading Amari Cooper, the Raiders relied heavily on Cook last season. He finished with 896 receiving yards, far and away a career-high total and the most a non-Todd Christensen Raiders tight end has ever recorded. Cook, 32 next week, now joins the Saints, who needed some help to provide a supporting cast for Michael Thomas.

Gruden on Tuesday called it “sickening” the Raiders could not keep Cook, but Tafur indicates they were not all that serious about doing so. He had also indicated in November a desire to retain the well-traveled tight end. Cook signed for two years and $15.5MM (with $8MM fully guaranteed). The Raiders landed Cook for barely $5MM per year in 2017.

The Raiders will give Darren Waller a chance to succeed Cook, per Gruden. He of multiple suspensions, Waller caught six passes for 75 yards with the Raiders last season. It appears likely the Raiders, who also have Derek Carrier on their roster, will draft a tight end.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/26/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals


Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns



Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

Ravens Reveal Final Cuts

Two prominent 2015 Ravens draft picks were informed they won’t be on this season’s initial 53-man roster. Breshad Perriman and defensive lineman Carl Davis, a third-round draft choice three years ago, did not make the cut.

Davis started nine games for Baltimore last season but has just 30 career tackles. He missed the entire 2016 season.

The Ravens will also cut guard Nico Siragusa, a 2017 fourth-rounder who saw an injury end his rookie season before it started. Recently coming off suspension, tight end Darren Waller also won’t be part of the Ravens’ season-opening roster.

Here is the full list of Baltimore’s cuts, the first group including the players who will head to the waiver wire:


Placed on Reserve/NFI list:

Ravens TE Darren Waller Reinstated

Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been reinstated after serving a yearlong suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. In order to bring him back on the roster, the Ravens have waived/injured wide receiver Jaelon Acklin

Waller, 26 in September, served a four-game substance abuse ban in 2016, so his second violation of the substance abuse policy last year resulted in a one year suspension. The tight end was forced to sit out the entire year and lost out on $615K in salary.

In 2016, Waller had ten catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. His offensive output was minimal, but he appeared on nearly half of Baltimore’s special teams snaps.

This year, he faced an uphill battle to make the roster. The Ravens drafted two tight ends in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, meaning that Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, and Vince Mayle are competing for one or maybe two spots. For what it’s worth, it appears that the Ravens will at least give Waller an opportunity to play catchup and make the final cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens TE Darren Waller Suspended At Least One Year

Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been suspended for at least one year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Baltimore announced today.Darren Waller

Waller previously served a four-game substance abuse ban in 2016, meaning that he’s now run afoul of the league’s drug mandate for a second time. Waller, 24, played in 12 games for the Ravens last year (including three starts), racking up 10 receptions and 85 yards for two touchdowns. While his offensive output was minimal, Waller appeared on nearly half of Baltimore’s special teams snaps a year ago. He’d been set to earn $615K in 2017.

Already down one tight end following the release of Dennis Pitta, the Ravens will now more heavily rely on internal options such as Ben Watson (who is recovering from a torn Achilles at age-36), Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Nick Boyle. As Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun notes (Twitter link), Waller was still in the developmental stage of his career, but was the most “physically gifted” tight end on the club, so his absence will be felt.

If the Ravens look to the free agent market for a new tight end, options could include Gary Barnidge, Ladaraius Green, Jacob Tamme, and Larry Donnell.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Activate Darren Waller

As expected, the Ravens have activated tight end Darren Waller, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). The second-year pro will be taking the roster spot of tight end Maxx Williams, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday.

Darren WallerThe 24-year-old sat out the first month of the season after having been suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. A sixth-round pick by the Ravens in 2015, Waller hauled in a pair of catches for 18 yards as a rookie. After appearing in six games (one start) last season, some questioned whether the Georgia Tech product would even make the team’s 53-man roster in 2016. The suspension apparently bought Waller some extra time, and injuries may allow him to stay on the roster for the rest of the season. As Zrebiec notes, Waller should also contribute on a struggling special teams unit.

Waller originally violated the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The tight end was also suspended twice at Georgia Tech after testing positive for marijuana. The tight end recently opened up about his substance abuse issues with Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com.

“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”

As Roster Resource shows, the Ravens now have three tight ends on the depth chart behind starter Dennis Pitta: Crockett Gillmore, Daniel Brown, and Waller.