Darren Waller

Dolphins, Raiders Held Darren Waller Trade Talks

Darren Waller was traded to the Giants last month, but the Pro Bowl tight end was in trade talks long before that point. While the Packers were already a known suitor, another one emerged last year.

The Dolphins were in on Waller trade talks in 2022, as noted by his agent Drew Rosenhaus during a Pat McAfee Show appearance (video link). Rosenhaus added that Waller was “very nearly” dealt by Vegas last offseason, the time at which the team starting seriously looking into moving on from him. Injuries played a part in contract negotiations, which ultimately ended in a new deal making the former former sixth-rounder the league’s highest paid tight end ($17MM per season).

Waller’s injury and recovery troubles emerged as a sore spot between himself and the Raiders, making it little surprise that he was eventually dealt despite having the new contract in hand. The Georgia Tech alum has remained productive when on the field in recent years, but he has suited up for a full season only twice in his career (2019 and 2020). That, coupled with his age of 30 and hefty contract will make his availability for the Giants a key factor in their success in the passing game.

Miami appeared to be set at the top of the tight end depth chart heading into 2022 with Mike Gesicki playing on the franchise tag. The arrival of new head coach Mike McDaniel brought about a shift in offensive scheme, though, and resulted in Gesicki’s role and playing time changing dramatically. The former second-rounder was limited to 32 catches in 2022, and he unsurprisingly departed in free agency.

While Gesicki’s future was in question with McDaniel at the helm, it is interesting that Waller was a target of theirs. The latter is a converted wide receiver, and is known far more for his pass-catching abilities than his effectiveness as a blocker. The Dolphins’ offense calls for more contributions on the ground from the TE position, especially considering their dynamic receiver tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Replacing Gesicki (as of 2023) with Waller would nevertheless have marked a notable move on Miami’s part.

Instead, they have extended Durham Smythe to have some familiarity at the position this season. Gesicki inked a deal with the Patriots, while Hunter Long was part of the Jalen Ramsey trade. The Dolphins are thus expected to make at least one notable tight end addition, likely at the draft. Their situation would have been far different, of course, had trade talks with the Raiders progressed further last year.

NFL Restructures: Smith, Mahomes, Fitzpatrick, Peat, Thomas, Hines, Waller

We had news recently that Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith had agreed to restructure his contract with the team, reducing his massive $17.6MM cap hit. Thanks to Todd Archer of ESPN, we now have some details on the deal. Smith was headed into the last year of an eight-year agreement, so his restructure essentially functions as a one-year contract.

The newly restructured contract will be a one-year, $6MM deal with a potential maximum value of $17MM. He received a $3MM signing bonus for the changes and has his $3MM base salary guaranteed. The deal rapidly escalates from there with several playing time incentives. Smith will receive an additional $1MM bonus for each of these snap share thresholds: 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, and 90%. This means that if he plays over 90% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, he will receive $9MM, one for each of the nine levels.

He can also receive playoff incentives, 75% of which are paid off of wins alone. The remaining 25% is paid if he plays over half of the team’s offensive snaps in those wins. He would receive $500,000 for each playoff win in which he plays the majority of the snaps. With four possible playoff wins, that’s a total of $2MM in playoff bonuses. Those plus the $9MM from the playing time incentives and the $6MM guaranteed at signing push the contract to it’s maximum value of $17MM.

Here is some other news on restructures from around the league:

  • The Chiefs created some financial breathing room by restructuring star quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘s massive contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The team converted $12MM of his 2023 roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $9.6MM in cap space for the season.
  • Yates also reports that the Steelers found some cap space by restructuring the contract of a star. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick agreed to a restructured deal that would reward the Steelers with $10.07MM of additional cap space in 2023 by converting $13.42MM of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus.
  • The Saints were able to gain some cap room by restructuring the deal of guard Andrus Peat, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. The team converted $4MM of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus, reducing his salary from $11.83MM to $7.83MM. He then took an additional pay cut to reduce his 2023 base salary to $1.5MM as the team voided out his 2024 salary, adding three more voidable years to the deal. The moves resulted in an additional $9.53MM in cap space for New Orleans.
  • Another NFC South player reportedly took a pay cut as Panthers tight end Ian Thomas agreed to a restructured deal, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. In his new deal, Thomas will earn $3MM in 2023 and $3.65MM in 2024. The deal creates an additional $2.88MM in cap space.
  • Another report from Yates tells us that the Bills have agreed to a renegotiated contract with running back Nyheim Hines. While the details are not yet available, it entails a $1MM signing bonus and the opportunity to earn $4.79MM in bonuses, clearing out some cap space for Buffalo while providing some incentives for Hines next season.
  • Lastly, following the tight end’s trade to the Giants, Darren Waller has agreed to a renegotiated deal with his new team, according to Yates. New York has converted $9.84MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus. The move creates $7.87MM in additional cap space for the Giants.

Raiders To Trade Darren Waller To Giants

In need of a few pass catchers, the Giants have struck a deal to land a former Pro Bowler. The Raiders are sending Waller to New York, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

The Giants are sending the No. 100 overall pick to the Raiders for the veteran tight end, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This is the third-round compensatory pick the Giants obtained in the Kadarius Toney trade with the Chiefs. The Giants had been eyeing tight ends, per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy, and they will make their move via trade.

This comes less than a year after Waller agreed to an extension with the Raiders. That $17MM-per-year contract will now be the Giants’ responsibility. Hours after their Jakobi Meyers acquisition, the AFC West team is shipping out one of its veteran playmakers. For a bit, the Raiders had five skill-position players tied to eight-figure-per-year contracts or a franchise tag (Waller, Meyers, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs). That number will drop back to four.

The Packers made an offer for Waller at last year’s deadline, but the Raiders stood pat. And, as of two weeks ago, they were not viewed as eager to move on from Waller. That said, a report last season indicated some in the organization were frustrated with his slow-progressing return from a hamstring injury.

Although the Giants effectively opted not to replace Evan Engram last season, they are acting on that front now. Fewer than 10 tight ends in NFL history have strung together back-to-back 1,100-yard receiving seasons; Waller is among them. Even with Jeremy Shockey excelling in the 2000s, no Giants tight end has ever reached the 1,100-yard plateau in a season. That achievement occurred from 2019-20; Waller has battled some injuries in the seasons since.

The Raiders had given Waller three contracts, including two extensions, as he became their No. 1 option in the wake of the Antonio Brown deal combusting before he played a game in Oakland. A former Ravens wide receiver who nearly flamed out of the league due to substance-abuse issues, Waller launched a comeback with the Raiders. The Jon Gruden-era pickup led the team in receiving in 2019 and ’20, earning Pro Bowl acclaim for his work in the latter slate.

Engram also earned Pro Bowl honors during 2020, when the game not being played led to no alternates distorting the accomplishment, but Waller’s numbers dwarfed the ex-Giants first-rounder’s production. The Giants let Engram walk in free agency last year, tiring of the receiving tight end’s inconsistency. They will now make Waller a centerpiece player in their passing attack, one that still needs more pieces despite Sterling Shepard agreeing to come back. Waller and Saquon Barkley will represent the initial cornerstones of Daniel Jones‘ fifth Giants attack.

This year’s wide receiver market does not house many impact players, and while the Giants have been connected to receiver pursuits, they will take on Waller’s $11MM 2023 base salary. He is signed through 2026 at a reasonable rate — salaries of $10.5MM, $11.5MM and $13.5MM are also on the deal — despite the $17MM AAV breaking George Kittle‘s tight end record last year. The Giants will determine Waller’s fit in Brian Daboll’s offense; the $8.25MM guaranteed this year represent the last of Waller’s locked-in money.

Josh McDaniels has now shipped out the Raiders’ passing-game pillars from the Gruden period, cutting Derek Carr and now unloading Waller’s deal. The Raiders now have a need at tight end, with Foster Moreau also a free agent. The 2023 draft class is believed to be deep at the position, so the Raiders should be considered candidates to nab one of the top prospects. This trade also will not tag Las Vegas for dead money much. They will save $11.38MM as a result of the move.

AFC West Notes: Waller, Chiefs, Broncos

Darren Waller came up in trade talks last year, generating Packers interest ahead of the deadline, and the veteran tight end missed a big chunk of the Raiders‘ season due to a nagging hamstring injury that may or may not have irked some with the team. This came after the Raiders reached a three-year, $51MM extension with the former Pro Bowler just before the season. Despite Waller’s disappointing slate and the team moving on from Derek Carr, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes the Silver and Black are not looking to move on from the talented tight end (subscription required).

Waller’s $12MM cap number checks in considerably lower than Chandler Jones‘ ($19.3MM), but Howe adds the latter is also unlikely to be moved. The Raiders did not receive what they had hoped from Jones, who totaled just 4.5 sacks and seven QB hits in his Las Vegas debut. The Raiders would save $9MM-plus by trading Jones, 33, but the ex-Cardinals All-Pro’s trade value may not be especially high right now. Jones still has $16MM in guarantees remaining on his three-year, $51MM deal.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Chiefs had once eyed Mike Kafka to succeed Eric Bieniemy as OC, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, but they had envisioned the latter landing a head coaching job. Bieniemy famously failed to do so and ended up leaving for a play-calling role in Washington after five years. This proved too long for Kafka to wait; he is now the Giants’ play-caller and joined this year’s HC carousel. Benefiting from the past two offseasons’ events, Matt Nagy replaced Kafka as QBs coach and has since replaced Bieniemy. Nagy’s Bears HC shortcomings notwithstanding, Breer adds he is seen as a possible Andy Reid heir apparent in Kansas City. Reid shot down retirement rumors after Super Bowl LVII, but the future Hall of Famer will turn 65 this month and is going into his 25th season as a head coach.
  • Graham Glasgow, Ronald Darby and Chase Edmonds loom as cut candidates for the Broncos, who have some needs to fill in free agency. It is possible the Broncos release all three, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Denver restructured Glasgow’s contract in 2022 and saw him become needed after injuries to guard Quinn Meinerz and center Lloyd Cushenberry. But the team can save $11MM by releasing Glasgow. The team can add $9.6MM by cutting Darby, who suffered a torn ACL in October. Rookie Damarri Mathis fared decently replacing the veteran opposite Patrick Surtain II. The Broncos picked up Edmonds at the deadline from the Dolphins; they can save $5.9MM by releasing the ex-Cardinals starter. Denver should be able to add a veteran for cheaper, given this year’s crowded running back market, and Sean Payton favorite Latavius Murray is likely a candidate to be re-signed.
  • For what it’s worth, Russell Wilson‘s office is no longer in use. The space that drew considerable attention as the former Seahawks star struggled in Denver has been cleaned out, Mike Klis of 9News notes. While Broncos players did not necessarily voice issues about Wilson’s office, it attracted scrutiny during a 5-12 season. Wilson previously agreed to stop using it during the season’s final two weeks.
  • Kyle Van Noy wants to stay with the Chargers, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper, who notes the versatile linebacker should have a chance to return. The Bolts signed Van Noy to a low-cost deal late in the 2022 offseason. His role expanded after Joey Bosa‘s groin injury, and the 13-game starter hit the five-sack mark for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Conversely, Morgan Fox will probably depart in free agency, Popper adds. Fox registered 6.5 sacks and likely will price himself out of Los Angeles, as the Bolts want to re-sign right tackle Trey Pipkins and linebacker Drue Tranquill.
  • Mecole Hardman recently underwent groin surgery, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The November injury kept the contract-year wide receiver out of Super Bowl LVII. Hardman will attempt to get healthy ahead of a free agency bid, with Howe adding he will need around two months to recover (Twitter link). The Chiefs have Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster set to hit the market. Mutual interest exists between the Chiefs and Smith-Schuster.

Raiders Activate TE Darren Waller, WR Hunter Renfrow

Derek Carr and the Raiders offense will be getting some significant reinforcement. The Raiders have activated tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow from injured reserve, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

Waller hasn’t seen the field since October but it took the front office a month to finally place him on IR, delaying his required four-game absence. After two-straight 1,000-yard campaigns in 2019 and 2020, Waller was limited to 665 receiving yards in 11 games in 2021. His hamstring injury has limited him to only five appearances in 2022, with the former Pro Bowler hauling in 16 receptions for 175 yards and one score. Waller inked a three-year, $51MM extension with the Raiders back in September.

Renfrow has dealt with a handful of injuries in 2022, limiting him to 21 receptions in six games before being sidelined. The 26-year-old was coming off a breakout campaign in 2021 that saw him haul in 103 receptions en route to a Pro Bowl nod. The wideout inked a $32MM deal with the organization during the offseason.

Without Waller and Renfrow in the lineup, the Raiders have been leaning heavily on Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, with both players having already topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage. The Raiders second-leading receiver this season has been Mack Hollins, who has hauled in 47 catches for 588 yards and three touchdowns.

The Raiders made a handful of additional moves as they prepare for tomorrow’s game against the Patriots. Las Vegas promoted offensive linemen Sebastian Gutierrez and Jordan Meredith to the active roster. To make room for today’s transaction, the Raiders cut wide receiver DJ Turner and tight end Jacob Hollister.

Raiders’ Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow Return To Practice

Reinforcements are on the way for the Raiders on offense. Vegas has designated both tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow to return from IR (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter).

Waller has been out since mid-October, but it was not until one month after his most recent game played that the Raiders placed him on IR. A lingering hamstring injury has limited the Pro Bowler to just five contests in 2022, putting a significant dent in the team’s potential in the passing game. It also marked an unwanted beginning to his time after signing a three-year, $51MM extension in September.

Negotiations over a new deal dominated the summer, one in which the Raiders finalized a number of big-money contracts. Waller established himself as a preeminent tight end during the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, eclipsing 1,100 yards each year. Injuries limited him to 11 contests in 2021, however, and this season has obviously not gone according to plan. A return to the field, if not to his dominant form, could do wonders for the 30-year-old individually, and the Raiders’ offense as a whole.

Given the fact that Renfrow was placed on IR on the same day as Waller, it comes as little surprise that the pair are returning to practice simultaneously. The slot receiver was shut down while dealing with a myriad of injuries, and has suited up for six total games over the course of the season. His summer also included contract talks, and ended in a $32MM deal which came off the back of his Pro Bowl campaign in 2021. That, coupled with the addition of Davante Adams, led to significant expectations for the Raiders’ pass-catchers.

The team ranks just 12th in the league with an average of 246 passing yards per game, however, a sign of the inconsistency which has helped lead to a disappointing 5-8 record. Part of their middling performance can be attributed, of course, to the absence of Waller and Renfrow. Their return in the near future will help Vegas in their attempt to generate momentum at the end of the season, and leave the team with two IR activations available to be used.

This Date In Transactions History: Raiders Sign TE Darren Waller Off Ravens Practice Squad

Thanks to hindsight, we’ll occasionally find that some of the NFL’s best transactions initially went under the radar. That was the case on this date in 2018, when the Raiders signed a little-known tight end/wide receiver off the Ravens’ practice squad. Fast forward to today, and that tight end is one of the highest-paid players at his position.

On November 26, 2018, the Raiders added tight end Darren Waller off the Ravens’ practice squad.

The 2015 sixth-round pick didn’t make a whole lot of noise during his first three-plus seasons in the NFL. Baltimore initially had Waller playing as a wide receiver, and the Georgia Tech product had 12 receptions through his first two years in the league. After being slapped with a four-game suspension in 2016, Waller was hit with a full-season ban in 2017 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

That suspension proved to be the nail in the coffin for the wideout/tight end in Baltimore. After sitting out the 2017 campaign, he was cut at the end of the 2018 preseason. He later caught on with Baltimore’s practice squad, which where he spent the first chunk of the season. With rookies Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews and veteran Maxx Williams firmly above Waller on the depth chart, it didn’t seem like the now-pass-catching TE had much of a future in Baltimore.

Then, on November 26, the Raiders came calling. The Raiders didn’t necessarily need a TE but believed in Waller’s pass-catching ability and immediately gave him a spot on the active roster. The tight end has six catches in four games while playing behind Pro Bowler Jared Cook.

The organization’s gamble worked out. Waller exploded in 2019 with Cook out of the picture, finishing the campaign with 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up with an even better season in 2020, as Waller earned his first Pro Bowl nod after finishing with 107 catches for 1,196 yards and nine scores. 2021 was a bit of a disappointment for the tight end; he was limited to only 11 games while hauling in 55 catches for 665 yards.

Still, the Raiders were clearly convinced that Waller’s 2019/2020 performances were sustainable, and they inked him to a three-year, $51MM extension this past offseason, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL in terms of average annual value. The 30-year-old is currently on injured reserve, and in five games this year, he’s collected only 16 catches. Considering the mounting absences and declining production, there have been some whispers that the Raiders are growing frustrated with the star.

Still, even if the Raiders grow to regret the extension they gave to Waller, there’s no denying the brilliance of the move they made on this date four years ago today.

Raiders Frustrated With TE Darren Waller?

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 McDanielsDave 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.

Raiders To Place TE Darren Waller On IR

Darren Waller‘s absence will now be extended into December. The Raiders’ Pro Bowl tight end is heading to IR, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Waller is believed to have aggravated his hamstring injury, per Schefter. The veteran pass catcher has practiced in a limited capacity recently but has not played since Week 5. This will give Waller more time to heal while obviously hurting a Raiders passing attack that has been inconsistent despite forming a Waller-Davante AdamsHunter Renfrow trio.

[RELATED: Josh McDaniels Not On Hot Seat]

The converted wide receiver initially suffered the injury during the first quarter of the Raiders’ shootout loss to the Chiefs. After Las Vegas’ Week 6 bye, Waller went into the past two Sundays as a candidate to suit up. The Raiders did not rule him out until gameday in both cases. The IR move provides clarity but will leave a 2-6 team without its top tight end until at least Week 14.

This news makes Waller and Drew Rosenhaus’ push to secure a late-summer extension more important. After ranking outside the top 15 in tight end contracts entering September, Waller signed a three-year, $51MM deal. The new contract came with $22MM guaranteed; $19MM of that is fully guaranteed. Had Waller opted to bet on himself, this injury-altered season would have certainly reduced his value.

The Raiders have Waller, 30 signed through 2026 at the NFL’s highest tight end AAV figure. While Waller’s guarantee figures fall outside the top five at the position, the team has still invested plenty in the Jon Gruden-era reclamation project. Waller’s unavailability has undoubtedly affected the Raiders’ aerial attack, which has struggled to see Renfrow reprise his previous form. The Raiders extended Renfrow (two years, $32MM) this offseason as well, pairing him with Adams’ $28MM-per-year megadeal.

This represents Waller’s second straight injury-limited season. A knee injury cost him time in 2021, complicating his quest for a second Raiders extension. Thursday’s news ensures Waller will have missed at least 13 games over the past two seasons. This stretch has blunted the talented performer’s momentum. He came into the season as one of just eight tight ends to have multiple 1,100-yard seasons. Waller accomplished this while being the Raiders’ top aerial weapon, taking over that role after the franchise’s Antonio Brown bet became a spectacular bust.

Foster Moreau will continue to serve as Vegas’ starting tight end in Waller’s absence. Waller has totaled 16 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown on the season. Moreau also has amassed 175 yards this year, on 17 catches. In six games, Renfrow has still not surpassed 200 receiving yards.

Packers Attempted To Acquire Raiders TE Darren Waller At Deadline

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, as well as Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, the Packers attempted to acquire Raiders tight end Darren Waller prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. We already knew that Green Bay had offered a second-round choice for Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool — whom Pittsburgh ultimately sent to the Bears, as it believed the second-rounder it received from Chicago would be more valuable than the Packers’ selection — and we also learned previously that the team was interested in potential TE upgrades. We now know that Waller was one such TE target.

Waller, 30, signed a three-year, $51MM extension with the Raiders in September, but he is dealing with serious injury issues for the second straight season. The 2020 Pro Bowler was limited to 11 games in 2021, and he is expected to miss his third consecutive game on Sunday as a result of a hamstring ailment. Plus, after catching 10 balls for 129 yards and a score in the first two games of the 2022 campaign, he was limited to six catches for 46 yards in the next two contests. He played just eight snaps in Week 5 before injuring his hamstring.

Still, a healthy Waller is one of the game’s better receiving tight ends, and assuming he gets back to full strength soon, he would have been a nice weapon for a Packers offense that is just outside the bottom-10 in passing yards per game. Part of that disappointing ranking is due to a rash of injury problems that have impacted the club’s pass-catching contingent; Allen Lazard missed Green Bay’s Week 8 loss to the Bills due to a shoulder injury, Randall Cobb is on IR with an ankle injury, Sammy Watkins has missed time with hamstring troubles of his own, and Christian Watson exited the Buffalo game with a concussion. Injecting another player with health concerns into that mix might have been something of a risk, but GM Brian Gutekunst was clearly hoping a bold move might save Green Bay’s season.

Indeed, while Claypool was, according to Schefter, Gutekunst’s “primary focus,” the team also called the Panthers to discuss D.J. Moore, per Rapoport and Pelissero (though Schefter says the Packers were not interested in Texans receiver Brandin Cooks). Carolina, which rebuffed a massive offer for DE Brian Burns, also turned away the Moore inquiries, even though Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports the Packers were willing to deal a first-round pick (via Marcus Mosher of Pro Football Focus on Twitter). Schefter adds that, in an effort to close a Claypool trade, the Packers added a late-round pick to the second-rounder it was prepared to send to the Steelers, but apparently Pittsburgh valued Chicago’s Round 2 choice over Green Bay’s two-pick proposal.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who could be in the midst of his final season, publicly expressed his appreciation for the front office’s efforts. “The compensation for whatever players we were going after just didn’t make sense,” Rodgers said. “So I trust [Gutekunst]. We had some good conversations. We were in on some things. It just didn’t pan out.”

Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the ESPN and NFL.com reports, which were both published early Sunday morning, were based on leaks from the team designed specifically to appease Rodgers, and that the Green Bay front office did not actually want to make a deal. Regardless of the veracity of that claim, the end result is the same: if the 3-5 Packers are to salvage what could be Rodgers’ last stand, their existing talent will need to get healthy and turn things around in a hurry, as the only receiving help they can add at this point is free agent Odell Beckham Jr.

As an interesting aside, this is the second time this year the Packers and Raiders have discussed Waller, who was part of the talks that culminated in the blockbuster Davante Adams trade in March.