ALAMEDA (CBS SF/AP) — Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller’s steady play on the field this season has been rewarded with a long-term contract, the NFL team announced.
The deal prevents Waller from becoming a restricted free agent next off-season.
Waller, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end was originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and is in his first full season with the Raiders.
He has dealt with substance abuse problems in the past that led to a pair of suspensions with Baltimore. The Raiders signed him off the Ravens practice squad late last season.
Waller has been one of the biggest bright spots for the Raiders this season, leading the team with 37 catches through five games for 359 yards and 17 first downs. His 13 receptions in Week 3 are also the most by a tight end in a single game this season.
Waller entered the year with just 18 career catches for Baltimore and Oakland.
A native of Landover, Md., Waller played four years (2011-14) at Georgia Tech, appearing in 50 contests and making 22 starts for the program. He compiled 51 receptions for 971 yards, adding nine scores during his time with the Yellow Jackets.