New York Giants land star tight end Darren Waller in trade with Las Vegas Raiders

The New York Giants are making a splash move to give Daniel Jones another weapon.

The Giants are shipping a third-round selection, No. 100 overall, in the 2023 NFL draft to the Las Vegas Raiders for tight end Darren Waller, a person with knowledge of the deal told Art Stapleton of the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade cannot become official until the start of the new league year on Wednesday.

NFL Network was first to report the news.

Waller, 30, is one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL and a major threat in the passing game. In 2019 and 2020, Waller combined for 197 catches for 2,341 yards with 12 touchdowns. He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2020. Injuries, however, have forced Waller to miss 14 games over the past two seasons.

58. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
58. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

The Giants, who cannot officially announce the trade until the start of the new league year Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, posted a message to their verified Twitter account minutes after the news broke with a smirking emoji.

Who is new New York Giants tight end Darren Waller?

Originally a sixth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, Waller spent most of his time with the team on the practice squad, though he did appear in 18 games for the franchise in 2015 and 2016. While in Baltimore, however, Waller caught only 12 passes for 103 yards with two scores. During a Week 12 game in 2018, then-Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson saw Waller warming up on the field and was awed by combination of size (6-6 and 255 pounds) and athleticism. The following week, the Raiders signed Waller off of the Baltimore practice squad.

While he appeared in four games that season, he was still learning the offensive system. It wasn't until the following year that he posted his breakout campaign (90 catches, 1,145 yards, three touchdowns).

Waller has battled substance abuse and addiction and has publicly spoken about how it nearly derailed his NFL career. After spending much of 2021 injured and then testing positive for COVID-19, Waller spoke about the difficulties of spending time away from football. He was Las Vegas' candidate for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

How does the trade for Darren Waller affect the New York Giants?

As the team continues to build around Jones, who signed a four-year, $160-million contract extension March 7, the Giants had sorely needed more offensive firepower. Waller instantly becomes a down-field and red zone threat in New York's passing game. By comparison, New York's leading tight end in receiving yards was Daniel Bellinger, who caught 30 passes for just 268 yards with two touchdowns.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Darren Waller trade: Giants land star tight end in deal with Raiders