USA TODAY International Edition

Giants add TE Waller, bolster offense

- Lorenzo Reyes

The New York Giants are making a splash move to give Daniel Jones another weapon.

According to NFL Network and ESPN, the Giants are shipping a thirdround selection, No. 100 overall, in the 2023 NFL draft to the Las Vegas Raiders for tight end Darren Waller.

Waller, 30, is one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL and a major threat in the passing game. In 2019 and 2020, he combined for 197 catches for 2,341 yards with 12 touchdowns. He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2020. Injuries, however, have forced Waller to miss 14 games over the past two seasons.

The Giants, who cannot officially announce the trade until the start of the new league year Wednesday at 4 p. m. ET, posted a message to their verified Twitter account minutes after the news broke with a smirking emoji.

Who is new Giants tight end Waller?

Originally a sixth- round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, Waller spent most of his time with the team on the practice squad, though he did appear in 18 games for the franchise in 2015 and 2016. While in Baltimore, however, Waller caught only 12 passes for 103 yards with two scores. During a Week 12 game in 2018, then- Raiders offensive coordinato­r Greg Olson saw Waller warming up on the field and was awed by combinatio­n of size ( 6- 6 and 255 pounds) and athleticis­m. The following week, the Raiders signed Waller off of the Baltimore practice squad.

While he appeared in four games that season, he was still learning the offensive system. It wasn’t until the following year that he posted his breakout campaign ( 90 catches, 1,145 yards, three touchdowns).

Waller has battled substance abuse and addiction and has publicly spoken about how it nearly derailed his NFL career. After spending much of 2021 injured and then testing positive for COVID- 19, Waller spoke about the diffi culties of spending time away from football. He was Las Vegas’ candidate for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

How does the trade for Waller affect NY?

As the team continues to build around Jones, who signed a four- year, $ 160 million contract extension on March 7, the Giants had sorely needed more offensive firepower. Waller instantly becomes a down- field and redzone threat in New York’s passing game. By comparison, New York’s leading tight end in receiving yards was Daniel Bellinger, who caught 30 passes for just 268 yards with two TDs.

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