According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the New York Giants have acquired tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders in a trade.
The Giants will give the Raiders a third-round selection (100th overall) in exchange for Waller, a 2020 Pro Bowler who will offer quarterback Daniel Jones with a proven experienced target in the receiving game.
Waller had back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving in 2019 and 2020, but has been troubled by several injuries over the last two seasons, participating in just 20 games. Since 2019, Waller has ranked third among NFL tight ends in terms of receptions (280) and receiving yards (3,394), after only Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews.
The draught selection destined to Las Vegas was obtained by the Giants from the Chiefs in the transaction that sent receiver Kadarius Toney to Kansas City earlier this season.
This trade, combined with Kenny Golladay’s ineffectiveness and Sterling Shepard’s season-ending knee injury, left Jones with an inexperienced receiving corps for New York’s unexpected postseason run, leading to widespread speculation that Giants general manager Joe Schoen would look for passing-game upgrades this offseason.
Darius Slayton was Jones’ best receiver last season, finishing with 724 yards. But, Schoen found an inventive approach to boost the receiving corps with Tuesday’s deal, which may have been required due to a perceived lack of wide receivers in free agency.
The Giants have signed Waller, 30, to a four-year, $51 million contract extension that he signed with the Raiders in September. New York is projected to use a lot of two-tight-end groupings with Waller and Daniel Bellinger, a fourth-round choice last year.
Waller is likely expendable in Las Vegas after the Raiders signed free agency receiver Jakobi Meyers to a three-year contract earlier Tuesday. Meyers joins a receiving group that already features Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow. Backup tight end Foster Moreau did admirably in spot duty replacing Waller last season, but he is about to enter free agency, leaving Las Vegas with just Jesper Horsted and Cole Fotheringham under contract.
According to Schefter, the Raiders are interested in signing veteran free agency tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Las Vegas allegedly turned down a second-round selection from the Packers for Waller at the trade deadline last year, but now has 12 draught choices in a draught high on tight end prospects, including the Giants’ third-rounder.
Last season, the 6-foot-6 Waller participated in nine games, catching 28 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns.
Waller just married Kelsey Plum, a Las Vegas Aces guard. Mark Davis, owner of the Raiders, also owns the Aces.