Giants hoping they landed their version of Travis Kelce

new york giants, darren waller
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws to wide receiver Darren Waller (12) during organized team activities (OTA's) at the Giants training center on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in East Rutherford.

In an innovative move to reinforce their offensive lineup, the New York Giants acquired star tight end Darren Waller, providing an alternative solution to their lack of a top receiving option.

Despite financial constraints, General Manager Joe Schoen demonstrated creativity and strategy in bolstering their offense.

An Unexpected Trade

Emerging from an unexpected turn of events, the Giants welcomed Waller, formerly of the Las Vegas Raiders, in a trade involving the third-round pick they acquired from the Kadarius Toney deal. Waller, a veteran, is undoubtedly preparing for a significant workload and target share in 2023. His established reputation brings a sense of legitimacy to the Giants’ offensive unit.

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Waller’s Potential: Best Days Ahead

Standing at 6’6″ and weighing 255 pounds, the 30-year-old Waller believes his best days in football are still to come.

“I believe so. I always believe my best days are ahead of me. I still believe I have a lot left in the tank. And as long as I’m out there on the field and I’m available, I believe that great things are gonna happen,” Waller told The Post as minicamp ended.

Via the New York Post.

Impressive Track Record

With two seasons of over 1,100 receiving yards, a career 69.8% catch rate, and 19 total touchdowns under his belt, Waller immediately becomes the team’s top receiver. Apart from his receiving prowess, Waller also offers significant value in blocking in the run game and serving as a traditional in-line tight end.

The Giants aspire to emulate the formidable duo seen between Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, a top-tier combination that consistently delivers outstanding results. Waller is confident in his potential to reflect Kelce’s success, having demonstrated such high-caliber performance in the past.

“I’ve performed at a high level. … I was neck-and-neck with him statistically,” Waller said. “The plans for this team, whatever they ask me to do, if it’s take on that kind of a burden, take on that large number of targets, I believe I can produce. Whatever the number is as far as opportunity, I try to be as efficient as possible.”

High Praise from Giants’ Coach

Andy Bischoff, the New York Giants’ tight end coach, praised Waller’s preparation, stating he studies top league receivers and thinks and acts like a primary pass catcher.

In his 2022 season with the Raiders, Waller spent the majority of his snaps in the slot (61.9%), with 20% out wide and only 17.4% in line. The Giants see him as a receiving threat, suggesting an increase in his slot position stats in the upcoming season.

“This is a guy who studies Julio Jones and A.J. Green,” Bischoff said. “He’s a guy who studies receivers before tight ends. Now, he’s also a guy who takes great pride in being a three-way tight end. His run-game tape is not embarrassing. … I mean, he’s a twisted piece of metal and he can do anything.

Financial Commitment and Future Prospects

Waller’s impact on the Giants, barring any injury issues from his past, is anticipated to be significant. His upcoming season’s salary cap hit is modest at $4 million, with a three-year, $51 million deal set to commence after that.

The Giants will have to make a decision on this contract, given that Waller will earn upward of $14 million each year on the deal. If Waller can maintain his health and deliver a strong performance, the Giants may consider retaining him as a primary target and continue building the team around him.