Well, that’s one way to get some help in the receiving game.
The New York Giants made a massive splash on Tuesday afternoon, sending a third-round selection (100th overall in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft) acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in the Kadarius Toney trade to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller. One of the top receiving tight ends in the NFL, Waller is a massive addition for the Giants and should instantly slide in as a favorite target for Daniel Jones.
As expected, many in the NFL world were quick to react to the surprising trade. As Ralph Vacchiano notes, the team addressed one of its biggest needs through the trade market rather than overpaying in what is perceived by many to be a weak wide receiver market:
The Giants knew they had to add weapons for QB Daniel Jones. They also knew the UFA WR group wasn't good. They nosed around free-agent TEs (Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki) but their prices are likely to be high.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano) March 14, 2023
Darren Waller will cost about $12.5M in salary/bonuses this year. https://t.co/VfIaefhv7N
Others were quick to note the scheme fit. While Waller missed eight games this past season with a hamstring injury, he’s a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-6 and should dominate in one-on-one matchups:
I like the #Giants gamble for Darren Waller based on:— Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) March 14, 2023
1. System fit
2. You can find advantageous 1-on-1 matchups
3. Contract ($12M AAV is nothing; look at J. Meyers deal)
BUT it's a bit of a stray away from "dependable" as Waller is 31 & has dealt w/ a slew of injuries of late. pic.twitter.com/JgIbNI4XyC
Jordan Ranaan also noted the injury risk with Waller. While his talent on the field is undeniable, actually staying on it has been an issue for the past two campaigns:
This is the kind of creative move that Joe Schoen needed to find in order to upgrade the weapons for Daniel Jones. The can be a great move IF they can keep Darren Waller on the field. Has played just 20 of 33 games past two seasons. He's 30 years old.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 14, 2023
Interestingly, this is not the first time that Waller has been floated on the trade market. The Green Bay Packers checked in on him at the trade deadline this past season but ultimately backed out due to Las Vegas’ asking price. Five months later, the Giants got Waller for an even cheaper price:
The Packers offered the Raiders a second-round pick for Darren Waller at the trade deadline and Vegas turned them down, per @TomSilverstein.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) March 14, 2023
Giants just got Waller for a 3.
While the Giants ultimately landed Waller, some believe he was a backup option behind Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins:
It is a reasonable assumption that the Giants were in on Hopkins talks, so this acquisition of Waller feels like a pivot. Still a great deal for them imo.— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) March 14, 2023
This does strengthen my belief of Hopkins to KC for a 4th-ish rounder tho. https://t.co/JytxVgDLJq
As pointed out by Big Blue View’s own Nick Falato, Waller has tremendous ability as a pass-catcher. This move against All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick should have Giants fans excited for what’s to come:
The route against Minkah Fitzpatrick, the adjustment to the catch, the concentration, the finish— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) March 14, 2023
This is Waller in 2022...if he stays healthy, he creates problems for opposing defenses
Giants 12 personnel package, and offense in general, was just upgraded pic.twitter.com/QSTBkOSDF7
While many were quick to praise and celebrate Waller’s move to the Big Apple, not all reactions were joyous. Specifically, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs took to Twitter to share his thoughts (warning: tweet features explicit language):
Shits sad fr— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) March 14, 2023
From a cap perspective, the Giants are in a tremendous spot with Waller. As pointed out by Bobby Skinner, one of the hosts of the popular “Talkin’ Giants” podcast, Waller’s arrival comes with no true downside financially, especially for a player of his caliber:
Darren Waller has no dead cap over the last 3 years of his deal.— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) March 14, 2023
There is literally no downside to this deal.
Here is Tony Jefferson, who played for the Giants last year and practiced against Waller when both were with the Baltimore Ravens: