Darren Waller

Latest On Raiders’ Darren Waller

While most of the buzz around the NFL is related to the upcoming draft, a report recently surfaced regarding what would be another sizeable trade seeing a Pro Bowler on the move. Aaron Nagler of CheeseHead TV wrote earlier this week that the Packers and Raiders were in discussion on a trade involving tight end Darren Waller

When referencing the report, ESPN’s Matt Miller added that Waller “was being shopped due to age and expected cost” previously (Twitter link). That would seem to open the door to Vegas dealing the 29-year-old, who has two years remaining on an extension he signed in 2019. He is due $6.25MM in each season, with slightly higher cap hits. None of that money is guaranteed, however.

A swap involving the Raiders and Packers would, of course, be the second notable one of the offseason. But it is in large part because of Vegas’ acquisition of Davante Adams that Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote “they have no desire to part ways with [Waller]”. The price – both in terms of draft capital and the financial commitment of a lucrative extension – the Raiders paid to add the ex-Packers star would indeed make any thought of moving Waller rather puzzling.

Bonsignore added that while Waller is on a below-market deal relative to his production (including two straight 1,100 yard seasons in 2019 and 2020), the team’s decisions on an extension or any possible trade if terms can’t be agreed upon “appear [to be] at least a year away”. Recently re-signed quarterback Derek Carr added (on Twitter) further rejection to the notion of Waller playing anywhere but in Vegas this upcoming season.

For what it’s worth, Waller doesn’t believe he’ll be moved. During an appearance on The Zach Gelb Show, the tight end said he was told by the organization that he’s staying put.

“They said that’s not a thing that’s happening and there’s no trade that’s going to happen,” Waller said (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter).

The Raiders will be waiting until the third round of the draft to make their first selection, as a result of the Adams deal. In the meantime, this storyline could be one to watch during the weekend.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Darren Waller Returns To Practice

The Raiders have been without their top target since Thanksgiving. A leg injury and a positive COVID-19 test kept Darren Waller out of practice over the past five weeks, but the team received some positive news ahead of its likely do-or-die game in Week 18.

Waller was back at practice Wednesday. The Pro Bowl tight end worked out in a limited capacity, but this nevertheless represents progress. Despite Waller having not played since Week 12, the Raiders did not place him on IR. They opted to play it week-to-week, but this injury has taken some time to heal.

Expected to miss a slightly shorter period of time due to an IT band strain, Waller experienced upper-leg pain that slowed his return. The Raiders have gotten by with Foster Moreau at the tight end spot and have won their past three games to set up what will likely be a win-and-in game against the Chargers. Still, their offense certainly is not the same without Waller. Las Vegas has topped out at 23 points — against Indianapolis in Week 17 — in its five games with its two-time 1,000-yard target sidelined.

His extended absence notwithstanding, Waller remains second among Raiders with 53 catches for 643 yards this season. Hunter Renfrow has made a leap in his third year, topping 1,000 yards for the first time, but Henry Ruggs‘ departure is still affecting the Las Vegas offense. DeSean Jackson has eclipsed 50 yards in just one game since signing with the team in early November.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Raiders Place Darren Waller On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Darren Waller has not yet returned from the injury he suffered on Thanksgiving, but interim HC Rich Bisaccia said the Pro Bowl tight end was close. A Waller re-emergence may have to wait another week.

The Raiders are placing Waller on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Anthony Galaviz of the Fresno Bee tweets. Despite the NFL changing its coronavirus protocols again Tuesday, this transaction points to Waller missing another game.

Players can return after five days, regardless of vaccination status, if they are asymptomatic. Waller is vaccinated, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore (on Twitter). Vaccinated NFLers who test positive can come back sooner, but that has been a high hurdle for most this season. Coupled with Waller’s IT band injury, his odds of playing against the Colts on Sunday are slim.

Waller has missed Las Vegas’ past four games. The IT band injury has caused pain in Waller’s upper leg during his rehab, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. This has slowed his return. The Raiders never placed Waller on IR, indicating they hoped he could come back within three weeks. Instead, he is looking at a likely five-game absence.

While the team has rallied over the past two weeks to move to 8-7, aerial success has not come easy. Waller has 53 catches for 643 yards and two touchdowns this season.

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.

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.

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