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The Giants will send a third-round draft pick (100th overall) to the Raiders’ 2020 Professional Player of the Year Waller, who will provide quarterback Daniel Jones with a consistent veteran target in the passing game.
Waller had back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons in 2019 and 2020, but he’s struggled with multiple injuries over the past two seasons, appearing in just 20 games over that span. Waller still ranks third among NFL tight ends in catches (280) and receiving yards (3,394) since 2019, behind Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews.
The draft pick heading to Las Vegas was acquired by the Giants from the Chiefs last October in a trade that sent receiver Toni Cadarius to Kansas City.
That trade—along with the ineffectiveness of Kenny Golladay and the season-ending injury to Sterling Shepherd’s knee—left Jones with an inexperienced receiver team for New York’s snap postseason tour and led to a widespread belief that Giants general manager Joe Schoen would look for pass game upgrades this offseason.
Jones’ leading receiver last season was wide receiver Darius Slayton, who finished with 724 yards. But Schoen found a creative way to improve the receiving corps with Tuesday’s trade, which may have been necessary because of what is considered a weak group of wide receivers in free agency.
The Giants will have Waller, 30, under contract for the next four seasons thanks to the $51 million, three-year extension he signed with the Raiders in September. New York is expected to use a lot of tight lineups that include Waller and Daniel Bellinger, last year’s fourth-rounder, at center.
Waller could potentially become a expendable in Las Vegas after the Raiders agreed to a three-year deal earlier Tuesday with free receiver Jacoby Meyers, who joins a receiving corps that already includes Davante Adams and Hunter Renfro. Foster Morrow played well last season on spot duty replacing Waller, but is set to hit free agency, leaving Las Vegas with Jesper Horstead and Cole Fotheringham as the only tight ends currently under contract.
The Raiders are also interested in signing veteran free agent Marcedes Lewis, according to Schefter.
Las Vegas reportedly turned down a Packers second-round pick for Waller at last year’s trade deadline, but now has 12 draft picks, including the Giants’ third-rounder, in a heavy draft with tight final prospects.
The 6-foot-6 appeared in just nine games last season, hauling in 28 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns.
Waller recently married Las Vegas ace guard Kelsey Bloom. The Aces are also owned by Raiders owner Mark Davis.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan contributed to this report.