Darren Waller Trade Grade

Darren Waller
Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders recently agreed on a trade that sent star tight end Darren Waller to New York in exchange for the 100th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. After having some time to analyze, let’s assess how the Giants fared in this deal.

The draft pick New York sent to the Raiders in exchange for their prolific new tight end was the same draft pick they received from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for former first-round pick Kadarius Toney. Toney, albeit a talented player, was not drafted by the current front office in New York and never seemed to be a part of their long-term plan to rebuild the franchise. As a result, being able to flip him for a draft pick that helped acquire a known commodity in Waller can be viewed as a great way to recoup any value for Kadarius Toney.

Both the wide receiver and tight end free agency classes are two of the weaker classes in recent memory and even when it seemed like there weren’t many great options, New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen was able to get creative via the trade market. Schoen has prioritized putting his quarterback in a position to succeed after giving him a massive contract extension and the acquisition of Waller is a huge step in the right direction.

Darren Waller instantly becomes Daniel Jones‘ top pass-catching option in the Giants’ offense following the trade. He has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt while the Giants have only a single 1,000-yard season from a tight end in the history of the franchise. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches tall and 250 pounds, Waller has blazing speed up the seam (4.46sec 40-yard dash time) and the physical presence to barrel through defenders.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll is no stranger to working with high-profile tight ends and the same goes for offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Daboll was the tight end coach of the New England Patriots from 2013-2016, where he worked with future Hall of Fame tight end, Rob Gronkowski. Kafka spent five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before landing in New York and worked closely with another future Hall of Fame tight end, Travis Kelce. Simply put, the coaching staff will know how to put Waller in a position to succeed almost instantly.

The one main concern for Darren Waller and the New York Giants is his health. He has played in just 20 games out of a possible 34 in the past two seasons and is now officially on the wrong side of 30 years old.

If all else fails, Waller’s contract has no financial guarantees beyond 2023, meaning that the Giants can move on after this year as if nothing ever happened. Additionally, Joe Schoen recently converted nearly $10 million of Darren Waller’s base salary this season into a signing bonus, which opened up approximately $8 million for the team to make a few more off-season moves. Adding an instant-impact player while creating more financial flexibility in the process, Schoen deserves a lot of credit for making this trade.

Grade: A-

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