The New York Giants‘ decision to trade their third-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders for acclaimed tight end Darren Waller sparked excitement amongst fans. The prospect of integrating Waller into an offensive system that thrives on the performances of its receivers is indeed intriguing.
Leveraging Waller’s Abilities with Giants’ Offensive Scheme
Mike Kafka, the Giants’ offensive coordinator, has a proven track record of enhancing the output of tight ends, evident from his stint with Travis Kelce at the Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Brian Daboll brings in experience from the Buffalo Bills, a team renowned for their explosive passing game focusing on play-making abilities and deep throws.
Waller’s unique athleticism as a tight end is irrefutable, but the Giants foresee utilizing him as a primary receiver throughout the 2023 season and beyond.
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”151323″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
A Win for the Giants: Trading for a WR1 Potential Player
Trading a third-round pick for a player with WR1 potential and a $4 million cap hit is an astute move. General Manager Joe Schoen excelled in locating value at a reasonable cost. Given that Waller hasn’t yet reached 31, he has ample untapped potential.
Waller’s Contract Details and Future Prospects
Waller is slated to undertake a three-year, $51 million deal post the 2023 season. His cap hit next year, when he will be 32 years old, is $14 million, escalating to $15 million in 2025 and $17 million in 2026. After the forthcoming season, the Giants can release Waller with a $7.8 million dead money hit. However, if Waller remains healthy and consistently produces high yields, the Giants might opt to retain him.
Considering that 34-year-old Travis Kelce is currently regarded as the best tight end in football, age should not be an obstacle for Waller, originally a sixth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2015.
Waller’s Performance and Role with the Giants
During his last season with the Raiders, Waller racked up 28 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns. He was deployed 61.9% of the time in the slot and 20% out wide, with a traditional TE in-line position merely 17.4% of the time. He’s gradually evolving into a ‘jumbo slot’ option, a role the Giants plan to harness, providing quarterback Daniel Jones with a potent weapon in the passing game.
Boosting the Wide Receiver Corps
Enhancing the wide receiver corps was a top priority for the Giants this offseason. They made several additions, but Waller’s athleticism and skills positioned him as the standout player. The front office’s focus on augmenting athleticism was accomplished with flying colors.
Waller boasts two seasons with over 1,150 yards, including a 1,196-yard performance in 2020, complemented by nine touchdowns. His 1.8% drop rate during that season illustrates his reliability and endurance.
The Impact of Waller on the Giants’ Offense
Waller’s proficiency, particularly in medium and long-distance catches, promises significant benefits for the Giants’ offense. Only two days into training camp, Waller has excelled, emerging as one of Jones’s primary targets. His early performance has been so impressive that he had to be removed from the field because Jones kept focusing on him during passing plays, showcasing their burgeoning partnership.
Jones hasn’t previously had a top-tier receiver to partner with, the last notable combination being Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Former General Manager Dave Gettleman had hoped that Kenny Golladay would be that catalyst for Jones, but his fit into the new scheme was unsatisfactory, leading to his departure this offseason.
However, Waller’s early impact in the camp and the chemistry already developing with Jones promises a thrilling future for the Giants.