Darren Waller Addresses Timetable For Retirement Call

Seeing Evan Engram prosper with the Jaguars, the Giants made a move to bring in a comparable receiving tight end by trading for Darren Waller last year. But that addition brought more Waller injury trouble; now, the former Pro Bowler remains uncertain on playing in 2024.

Considering retirement after a few injury-marred seasons, Waller looks to still have a place with the Giants. The ex-Raiders standout brings an upper-echelon skillset as a receiving tight end, and the Giants would not have an easy time — particularly at this juncture — replacing him. Waller, 31, plans to inform the team of his decision before the June hiatus between minicamp and training camp. While informing the Giants by the draft would give them the opportunity to find a young replacement hopeful, Waller cannot guarantee he will decide by then.

That would be ideal, but I also don’t want to put that on myself,” Waller said (via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur) of informing the Giants by the draft. “It’s gotta be before summer break, for sure.

The prospect of a Waller retirement surfaced in early March, but the Giants did not add a starter-caliber tight end in free agency. The position became thinner before the market opened, with Dalton Schultz re-signing with the Texans and Hunter Henry staying with the Patriots. Noah Fant re-signed with the Seahawks during the legal tampering period. Mike Gesicki was available, but he is now with the Bengals for just $2.5MM. Following his Falcons release, Jonnu Smith joined the Dolphins. Gerald Everett rejoined Shane Waldron in Chicago.

Blocking tight end Chris Manhertz and ex-Eagles backup Jack Stoll joined the Giants, but if Waller is truly done, they need another option. Daniel Bellinger remains under contract, but he amassed just 255 receiving yards in 17 games last season. Bellinger also missed a chunk of his rookie year due to injury.

Although Waller missed five games due to more hamstring trouble, he totaled 552 receiving yards. Considering the limited opportunities the Giants’ passing attack offered its aerial cogs last season, that is a fairly impressive number. Only Darius Slayton (770) topped that. The Giants have a major need at wide receiver, but if Waller returns, their passing game would present a higher floor.

Currently helping tight end prospects train for the draft, Waller would need to inform the Giants of his plans in early June if he is to make good on his timetable. The team’s minicamp runs from June 11-13. As part of the extension Waller signed with the Raiders in 2022, he is due $10.53MM in base salary in 2024; that figure is nonguaranteed.

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