Giants reportedly expect their veteran tight end to retire before minicamp

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The New York Giants pulled off a blockbuster trade last offseason to acquire veteran tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders. The Giants expected Waller to step in and serve as a transformative piece in their offensive attack. However, injuries hampered his impact on the field as he finished with just 552 yards and one touchdown.

Fast forward one year and Big Blue’s big acquisition from last year is likely on his way out. Waller has been mulling retirement all offseason and has left the future of his playing career ambiguous. There finally seems to be some clarity coming, however, as ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and Adam Schefter are reporting that a decision is expected to come soon.

The Giants reportedly expect Darren Waller to retire before minicamp

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According to ESPN’s Raanan and Schefter, Waller is expected to make a decision by next week’s minicamp on his playing future and people in and around the team expect he’s going to retire. They also add that those close to him believe he’s leaning in that direction. Mandatory minicamp for the Giants is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

“It would be a pleasant surprise to the Giants at this point if Waller decides to return for a 10th professional season,” Raanan and ESPN report. “He has been busy working on his music — a new song was released last week — and admitted in an interview with The Athletic he was questioning his “commitment level” to football. That is rarely a positive sign.”

As a silver lining, Waller’s retirement will result in massive cap savings for Big Blue. Because he is retiring post-June 1st, the Giants are in line to save about $11.6 million in salary cap space.

Despite Waller’s 2023 season ultimately being a disappointment, he still finished second on the team in receiving yards. His presence in the lineup was important during the games where he was healthy enough to participate. But now the Giants will likely need to find a new starter in the lineup.

Who will replace Waller in the lineup?

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This offseason, New York added depth at tight end, signing veteran Jack Stoll and drafting Theo Johnson in the fourth round. Johnson will likely play a big role in the offense alongside third-year tight end Daniel Bellinger.

Bellinger totaled 25 receptions for 255 yards as Waller’s backup last offseason. He did not score a touchdown in 2023 despite totaling three scores as a rookie in 2022. The 23-year-old tight end has flashed potential in the past and will have an opportunity to emerge in a larger role this season.

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