Per Schefter, the Giants are sending the Raiders the third-round pick (No. 100 overall) that they got from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for Kadarius Toney. In essence, the Giants are swapping Toney for Waller.
Waller is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound receiving tight end. He has 298 receptions for 3,572 yards and 19 touchdowns over seven seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and the Raiders. The Ravens drafted Waller in the sixth round in 2015, converting him from wide receiver.
Waller had 90 receptions for 1,145 yards in 2019 and 107 receptions for 1,196 yards during a Pro Bowl 2020 season. In 2022, Waller played in only nine games, missing time with a hamstring injury.
Waller, who will be 31 in September, is under contract for four more seasons. After the 2023 season, though, there is no more guaranteed money on Waller’s deal. His 2023 salary cap hit is $11.875 million. There would be no dead cap money if the Giants moved on from Waller after the 2023 season.
Props to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, who teased the deal shortly before it was announced.
The Giants, in need of more explosive plays after finishing last in the NFL in 2022 with just 28 passing plays of 20 yards or more, had been expected to make some type of splash in the receiver market.
Darren Waller has more career seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards (2) than all other tight ends in @Giants history combined.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) March 14, 2023
Mark Bavaro holds the franchise TE record with 1,001 receiving yards in 1986. https://t.co/vjg3h2i4FX
Dunleavy and I discussed the possibility of a trade in a podcast on Monday, where we were admittedly focused on the wide receiver market.
Waller has averaged 12.0 yards per catch during his career.
Darren Waller 20+ yard catches by year:— Justin Penik (@JustinPenik) March 14, 2023
2021: 13 (11 games)
2022: 9 (9 games)
Darius Slayton had 12 no other Giants player had more than 3 receiving plays of 20+ yards
Darren Waller is going to bring the explosive play potential this offense desperately needs
At 6-6, Waller brings size to the Giants’ receiving corps and versatility to the offensive scheme. For Las Vegas last season, he lined up in the slot 191 times, inline 91 times, as a wide receiver 59 times and in the backfield three times.
The main negative with Waller is that injuries have limited him to playing in only 20 of a potential 34 regular-season games over the past two seasons.
Darren Waller's injuries in 2021 and 2022: pic.twitter.com/btGOq6sTRn— TTJ_nyg (@TTJ_nyg) March 14, 2023
The Waller deal, though, makes two big moves in two days for Giants GM Joe Schoen. Monday’s big move was agreeing to terms with inside linebacker Bobby Okereke.
I checked with Bill Williamson of SB Nation’s Raider website, Silver and Black Pride, for thoughts on the deal. Here is what he told me:
“There were rumors earlier this offseason [about trading Waller]. He’s missed 14 games the past two seasons. But this regime gave him an extension last year. These guys make moves on whims. Waller is really good, but the injuries are mounting and he will be 31. But at that price, I think it’s a good move for Giants.”
Head on over to Silver and Black Pride for the Raider fans perspective on the trade.
Also, check out this very interesting Twitter thread:
The trade comes 10 days after Darren Waller’s wedding to Aces guard Kelsey Plum. The timing is only interesting because Josh McDaniels accidentally leaked the news of his wedding to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. …— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) March 14, 2023
I love this move. There is some risk involved because Waller will be 31 and has dealt with injuries the past two seasons, but this could essentially be a one-year deal for the Giants if things go awry.
Waller has four years left on his contract, but no guaranteed money after the 2023 season. Look at the contract chart from Over The Cap above, and there would be very little dead money should the Giants move on after the upcoming season. There is, though, always the possibility of some type of re-structure or new deal to lower Waller’s 2023 cap hit.
On the field, when healthy Waller should be an outstanding addition. He is a perfect complement to Daniel Bellinger, and is the type of big-bodied, big-play receiver the Giants figured to be searching for this offseason.
The price — a third-round compensatory pick (No. 100) that the Giants got from the Chiefs for Toney — is really not that much.
So, in my view, terrific move for the Giants.
[NOTE: Story updated with Waller’s adjust cap numbers for the Giants].
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