Darren Waller may very well be transcendent weapon for Daniel Jones, Giants
NFC East Reporter
The Giants dedicated massive cash to Daniel Jones as a result of they believed he could lead on them again to a Super Bowl if solely they may construct a greater workforce round him.
On Tuesday, they confirmed simply how dedicated they’re to constructing that higher workforce.
In maybe the most important and boldest transfer made but by second-year normal supervisor Joe Schoen, the Giants acquired tight finish Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders in a commerce for the third-round choose (one hundredth general) that he received from the Chiefs for troublesome receiver Kadarius Toney again in October. Schoen knew his workforce lacked weapons within the passing sport, they usually definitely did not have a harmful receiving tight finish.
If the 31-year-old Waller stays wholesome — one thing he struggled to do the final two seasons — he is proven he may be among the many most harmful tight ends within the league.
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He additionally may simply be probably the most harmful receiving tight finish the Giants have ever had.
If he even comes near that, he’ll be an unlimited assist for Jones, the Giants’ newly minted $160 million quarterback. He may additionally reignite a passing offense that sputtered far too usually final season. As good as Jones was, he solely threw for 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Giants’ passing offense ranked simply twenty sixth within the league.
A giant a part of that was as a result of that they had one of many worst receiving corps in all of soccer — and that is nonetheless a place Schoen wants to deal with. But Jones did not get any assist out of the tight finish place both. His finest was rookie Daniel Bellinger, who solely had 30 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He additionally missed 5 video games with a fractured eye socket.
Bellinger has promise, however the 6-6, 238-pound Waller is best. He can step proper in and make an instantaneous distinction within the Giants’ offense, giving Jones a trusted goal and theoretically opening issues up for Saquon Barkley and the bottom sport.
Of course, that is if Waller stays wholesome. Waller had 83 catches for 1,053 yards and 5 touchdowns during the last two seasons, however solely performed in 20 video games due to hamstring, ankle and knee accidents. Last season he performed in simply 9 video games and caught solely 28 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns.
But earlier than the accidents began, Waller was dynamic. After he spent the primary 4 troublesome years of his profession in Baltimore — the place he was suspended 4 video games in 2016 after which for all the 2017 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse coverage — he broke out in a giant means for the then-Oakland Raiders in 2019 with 90 catches for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns that season.
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One 12 months later, with the Raiders in Las Vegas, Waller was even higher, catching 107 passes for 1,196 yards and 9 touchdowns and getting voted into the Pro Bowl.
Those are loopy numbers so far as the Giants are involved. Four Giants tight ends mixed for simply 57 catches, 560 yards and three touchdowns final season. No Giants tight finish has ever even approached 100 catches (Jeremy Shockey’s 74 in 2002 is the franchise file). And the one Giants tight finish to ever hit the 1,000-yard mark was Mark Bavaro, who had 1,001 in 1986.
So having a expertise like Waller may be transformative for a Giants’ offense that’s simply starting to develop beneath reigning NFL Coach of the Year Brian Daboll. And there’s little danger, since all he’ll price the Giants is $11 million in wage and maybe one other $1.5 million in bonuses in 2023. He’s signed via 2026, however there is not any extra assured cash on his deal after this season. So if it does not work out, the Giants can transfer on.
But the deal may work out nice, particularly if Schoen can someway repair a receiving corps that was suffering from fourth and fifth receivers final season, like Darius Slayton (46-724-2), Isaiah Hodgins (33-351-4) and Richie James (57-569-4). Schoen had been downplaying the Giants’ pursuit of a receiver because the finish of the season, principally, in line with a supply, as a result of he knew the free-agent crop on the place wasn’t good.
He was extra centered on a receiving tight finish. He even nosed round free brokers Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki, in line with NFL sources. But their worth is anticipated to be prohibitively excessive.
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Waller, by comparability, may very well be a discount. And he may become higher than the others anyway. If he is drawing the type of consideration over the center and down the sphere that he is drawn previously, that might open up rather a lot for the promising Wan’Dale Robinson, who has 23-227-1 in six video games earlier than tearing his ACL as a rookie final 12 months. Presumably Schoen will add a No. 1-type receiver within the draft too, presumably within the first spherical with the twenty fifth general choose.
Waller, although, may find yourself being the centerpiece of the passing sport and Jones’ new finest buddy. He will not be pretty much as good as Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and even Philadelphia’s Dallas Goedert, but when he is wholesome sufficient to play a full season he is ok to be proper close to the highest of the subsequent tier.
That’s an enormous leap over any weapon Jones had at his disposal final season. And the Giants’ hope is that he’ll assist Jones and their whole offense take an enormous leap subsequent season, too.
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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