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NFL Rumors: Darren Waller Traded to Giants; Raiders Get 2023 3rd-Round Draft Pick

Joseph Zucker

The Las Vegas Raiders are trading 2020 Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Raiders will receive the No. 100 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft next month. Dealing Waller now also saves them $11.4 million against the salary cap, and he'll count for just $660,000 in dead money.

Injuries limited Waller to 20 games over the past two years. Most recently, a hamstring injury wiped him out for eight straight weeks midway through the 2022 campaign. This trade doesn't come without some risk for New York.

But we're also talking about a tight end who caught 197 passes for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns between 2019 and 2020.

As long as he can stay healthy, the 30-year-old is a significant addition to a passing game that required reinforcements this offseason. He's arguably New York's best pass-catcher now.

A third-round pick is potentially a bargain as well for somebody who performed at an elite level not too long ago. The Green Bay Packers were prepared to send a second-rounder to Las Vegas to land Waller ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic.

The Raiders might have felt this was the right time to deal Waller, lest his trade value sink even further in 2023. They also add to their bevy of picks in the middle rounds of the draft, which they can use to fill out the roster or package together to move up the board.

Las Vegas isn't exactly rebuilding, though. The franchise opened the free-agent negotiating period by agreeing to a deal with Jimmy Garoppolo, per ESPN's Dianna Russini and Schefter, and struck a bargain with Jakobi Meyers on Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Turning around and offloading a proven vet may not be received well based on Josh Jacobs' apparent reaction to the news:

There are five tight ends among the 50 best overall players on Bleacher Report's 2023 NFL draft big board. Even if they don't get Notre Dame's Michael Mayer, widely considered the best at the position, the Raiders should have plenty of options if they're aiming to replace Waller that way.

Maybe Las Vegas will ultimately be vindicated by whatever unfolds over the next year or two. For now, it's difficult to see how the franchise is better without Waller, and that could be a tough pill to swallow for some in the locker room.


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