The New York Giants sorely needed to provide quarterback Daniel Jones with a legitimate pass-catching threat this offseason, despite the fact it was one of the league’s worst collections of wideouts in recent memory.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen and NFL Coach of the Year Brian Daboll, however, didn’t let that hinder them. Instead, the Giants reportedly traded the Las Vegas Raiders the No. 100 pick in April’s NFL draft for star tight end Darren Waller.
Waller, an elite pass-catching option when he’s healthy, now gives New York someone who can make plays down the field and take attention away from running back Saquon Barkley. His addition should make the Giants much more difficult to defend, again, as long as he can stay healthy. It also gives the Giants the opportunity to see how Jones produces with a top pass-catcher as opposed to drafting a tight end and allowing them the time to develop.
The fact New York opted to spend on Waller rather than signing a wide receiver is rather notable, too. It certainly was an underlying reason behind the Giants’ decision to part with a third-rounder as opposed to sign someone and part with nothing.
“I know the Giants have been nosing around the wide receiver free agent market, but they’re not going to overspend there, or spend just to spend in that market,” NFL Media’s Mika Garafolo said Tuesday afternoon on the network. “It’s not a great receiver class. so what they’re trying to do is say, ‘Alright, what are the other options for us to go get ourselves a target and a guy who can do some things down the field for Daniel Jones.'”
Waller, who ESPN’s Jeremy Flower floated was available for trade in late January, makes sense.
The 30-year-old tight end has had a pair of underwhelming campaigns due to being limited to nine games in 2022 and 11 games in 2021. Prior to that, however, Waller put together consecutive seasons with 1,100-plus yards. He caught 107 balls with nine touchdowns during his Pro Bowl campaign in 2020 and had 90 receptions in 2019.
Waller also is under contract through 2026, and the numbers are more than reasonable especially given what high-end receivers are getting.
Meanwhile for the Raiders, it marked the second move of the day after Las Vegas reportedly agreed to sign Jakobi Meyers, arguably the top free agent wideout on a three-year, team-friendly deal.