On day one of NFL free agency, Joe Schoen and the New York Giants made a major move by signing linebacker Bobby Okereke to a four-year deal. On day two of free agency, the Giants made another major move, but it didn’t come through a signing. Instead, to the shock of many, they traded for Las Vegas Raiders star tight end, Darren Waller.
In order to obtain Darren Waller, the Giants sent the Raiders a third-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft. The pick that was sent to the Raiders was in fact the pick that the Giants received when they traded away wide receiver Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The New York Giants are giving Daniel Jones something he didn’t have last season: a big-play receiver. The team acquired former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday in exchange for a draft pick.
Waller, 30, hauled in 28 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns during an injury-riddled 2022 season. The Giants gave up a third-round draft pick to acquire Waller.
Waller was originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He failed to establish himself with the team, and was suspended multiple times under the league’s substance abuse policy. Waller missed the entire 2017 season due to drug and alcohol addiction. During that period, he went to rehab and got sober.
Waller returned to the NFL in 2018 with the Raiders. He emerged as a playmaking threat the following year, catching 90 passes for 1,145 yards and 3 scores. He was even better in 2020, catching 107 passes for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. That performance earned Waller his first Pro Bowl selection.
Injuries have limited Waller the past two years. He played in 11 games in 2021 and nine games in 2022. When healthy, Waller has performed like a top-of-the-line receiving tight end.
Waller likely became expendable to Las Vegas after the Raiders agreed to a three-year deal earlier Tuesday with free agent receiver Jakobi Meyers, who joins a receiving corps that already includes Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow. Backup tight end Foster Moreau played well last season in spot duty replacing Waller, but he is scheduled to hit free agency, leaving Las Vegas with Jesper Horsted and Cole Fotheringham as the only tight ends currently under contract.
The Raiders are also interested in signing veteran free agent tight end Marcedes Lewis, according to Schefter.
Las Vegas reportedly turned down a second-round pick from the Packers for Waller at last year’s trade deadline but now has 12 draft picks, including the Giants’ third-rounder, in a draft that is heavy with tight end prospects.
The 6-foot-6 Waller appeared in just nine games last season, hauling in 28 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns.
Waller recently married Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum. The Aces are also owned by Raiders owner Mark Davis.
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