The Las Vegas Raiders trading away tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants for a third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft was one of the most surprising moves of the offseason. The Raiders signed Waller to a contract extension last offseason so it seemed as if he would be a member of the organization for years to come.
But after signing wide receiver Jakobi Meyers to a three-year deal, the Raiders felt the need to unload some salary. While Waller is extremely talented, he has had some injury issues over the last couple of seasons and the Raiders ultimately made the decision to ship him away.
The deal came as a surprise to everyone, including Waller himself who admitted that he did not see the trade coming and was caught off guard by the move, via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk:
Waller told reporters on Wednesday that the move “caught me off guard.”
“I did not see this coming,” Waller said.
Waller also said that he’s healthy now and sees the pieces of a “high octane” offense in place with the Giants, who will be hoping Waller remains healthy and a major piece of that unit in 2023.
Waller’s talent is undeniable and it will be hard to replace what he brings to the offense, especially his ability to stretch the defense up the seam. Waller broke out with the Raiders and saw himself remaining in Las Vegas for the foreseeable future, but the franchise had other plans.
The Raiders are still deep in the receivers room with Meyers joining All-Pro DaVante Adams, former Pro Bowler Hunter Renfrow and the emerging Mack Hollins. Additionally, Foster Moreau flashed some potential in Waller’s absence last season and of course, the NFL’s leading rusher Josh Jacobs remains with the team as well.
For Waller, he will now look to have a bounce-back season in New York where he joins quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley as the primary pieces to the offense. Additionally, Giants coach Brian Daboll is one of the NFL’s best offensive minds and will surely have plans on utilizing Waller to his best potential.
Darren Waller’s wife, Kelsey Plum, takes shot at Raiders coach Josh McDaniels
Making the move even more difficult for Waller is that he got married less than two weeks earlier, to Kelsey Plum who plays for the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA. News of the wedding was actually leaked by Raiders coach Josh McDaniels which reportedly didn’t sit well with the couple who had not made their plans public.
Following the trade Plum would make a joke at McDaniels’ expense, responding to a tweet about the trade being McDaniels’ wedding gift to the couple. Plum would say it was because McDaniels wasn’t invited to the wedding, though she would later clarify it was just a joke.