When the New York Giants traded former first-round receiver Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs, they parted ways with a talent that had enormous potential. Toney has faced health issues and even had some controversial interactions with fans on social media. While whispers of a potential trade emerged, the Giants pulled the trigger last October, signaling a strategic pivot.
The Return: What the Giants Got for Toney
General Manager Joe Schoen orchestrated the deal, sending Toney to the Chiefs in exchange for a compensatory third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and a 6th-round selection. What the Giants did next with these picks could go down as one of the most ingenious moves by the team’s front office in years.
A Surprise Addition: Darren Waller Joins the Giants
With the third-round pick, the Giants traded it straight to the Las Vegas Raiders for star tight end Darren Waller. Despite grappling with injuries in his last two seasons, Waller only carries a $4.5 million salary hit for the upcoming season—an absolute bargain for a player of his caliber.
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Waller’s Unmatched Versatility
Two years back, Waller amassed an eye-popping 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2020 season. His skill set is dynamic; he can play in the slot, on the boundary, and even serve as a traditional in-line tight end. This summer, he demonstrated significant chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones, becoming a focal point during training camp.
The Impact on the Offense
Measuring in at 6’6″ and 245 pounds, Waller has the potential to revolutionize the Giants’ offensive playbook. His size and skills open up deeper field options, offering Jones a formidable weapon in the passing game. Waller’s 2020 stats reveal that he’s lethal in every section of the field, racking up over 1,000 yards in various zones and showcasing red-zone dominance.
The Offensive Strategy: The Mike Kafka Factor
While it’s early to predict what Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka will do with Waller, his background with the Chiefs and their utilization of Travis Kelce hints at exciting possibilities. If Waller can even approximate the impact that Kelce has in Kansas City, the Giants’ offense will be formidable.
A Rookie Cornerback: The Addition of Tre Hawkins
But let’s not forget the 6th-round pick, which the Giants used to acquire Tre Hawkins from Old Dominion. An elite athlete with limited experience against top-level receivers, Hawkins is slated to start against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2023 season.
Hawkins’ Promising Preseason Performance
In 61 preseason snaps, Hawkins yielded just 30 yards on four receptions but made an impact with five tackles and two stops against the run. His ability to contribute in run defense is particularly enticing to Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale.
The Defensive Picture: A Bright Future Ahead?
Hawkins has absorbed valuable knowledge and will start alongside fellow rookie CB Deonte Banks and veteran Adoree Jackson. With continuous development, he could emerge as a crucial part of a Giants’ defense that has significantly upped its game this off-season.
The Final Word: Genius Move or Simply Necessary?
Trading a non-factor like Toney for two potential impact players is an exceptionally smart decision. It not only strengthens key positions but also accelerates the Giants’ ongoing rebuild, offering a glimpse of an exciting future