Going into the NFL offseason, the Giants clearly needed a number 1 receiver. They haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2018, which was Odell Beckham Jr.’s last season here. Many expected the Giants would spend big on a free agent or take a receiver in the 1st round of the NFL draft.
Instead, Giants GM Joe Schoen made a surprise move and acquired former Raiders Tight End Darren Waller for a 3rd round pick.
Now, Waller has a chance to have the best season a Tight End has ever had for the Giants.
Some might read that last sentence and think it’s a stretch. The Giants have had a number of great tight ends in their history. For me, the main ones that come to mind are Mark Bavoro and Jeremy Shockey. While both of those guys were excellent players, Shockey had zero 1,000-yard seasons, and Bavaro had just 1 in 1986, totaling 1,001 yards.
Darren Waller had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, Waller had 1,145 yards, and in 2020 totaled 1,196 yards. These seasons helped Waller sign a contract that made him the highest-paid tight end in the league on a per-year basis.
This begs the question, why would the Raiders trade him for just a 3rd round pick?
The answer to that question is injuries and age. In the last 2 seasons, Waller has played just 20 games. Waller will turn 31 in September, so the Raiders may have just been trying to get something for Waller while they still could. For the Giants, this is a low-risk, high-reward move. Trading a 3rd round pick for a tight end with the ceiling of Waller is a no-brainer, especially with the Giants in need of a number 1 receiver.
Serving that role in an offense that will be looking to throw more provides Waller with a golden opportunity. While Waller won’t break Bob Tucker’s Giants receiving record for tight ends, breaking Mark Bavaro’s single-season record is very much in reach, barring injury.
Heading into the 2023 season, it feels good to know the Giants have a bonafide number 1 option in the receiving game.
P.S. Here are some Darren Waller highlights to fire you up:
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