Slow news day for the Philadelphia Eagles, indeed, so let’s take a look at a noteworthy move made by one of their NFC East rivals.
The New York Giants acquired former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a late third-round pick (No. 100 overall), according to a report from NFL insider Tom Pelissero. Many have noted that the pick they gave up is the one they received from trading Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Waller has the potential to be the most threatening tight end the Giants have had since ... Jeremy Shockey? Am I forgetting someone? It’s been some time.
Waller posted monster seasons back-to-back in 2019 and 2020, accounting for 197 receptions, 2,341 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns.
Since then, however, injury issues have limited him to playing in just 20 of his last 34 possible games. He has 83 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in that stretch. So, not quite as dominant as he was in the years prior.
The Giants are hoping that Waller, who turns 31 in September, will bounce back as they’re set to pay out his $11 million salary this year. He’s under contract through 2026 but his guarantees are left behind with the Raiders.
The G-Men definitely needed to add more pass-catching talent to support Daniel Jones. And it’s not like they had great options available to them in free agency. The 2023 NFL Draft isn’t thought to be especially strong at wide receiver, either.
With that in mind, it’s understandable why they’d go after Waller as a high volume target for Jones to work with. They didn’t pay a premium price to get him so it’s not like a devastating move if it doesn’t pan out. But that speaks to Waller not being a proven commodity in the way that adding A.J. Brown made a big difference for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense last year. It’s possible injuries will continue to prevent Waller from recapturing his old form.
Here’s more on the Waller trade from Big Blue View’s perspective:
The Giants, in need of more explosive plays in which they were last in the NFL with just 28 passing plays of 20 yards or more, had been expected to make some type of splash in the receiver market. [...] 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.