Darren Waller

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.

Giants TE Darren Waller Addresses Potential Retirement

A report from earlier this month stated Darren Waller was committed to playing in 2024. The Giants tight end has not made a firm decision one way or the other, however. He confirmed that when speaking publicly about his situation.

Waller had his debut Giants campaign cut short due to the latest occurrence of his hamstring issues. He is still under contract for three years, although none of his salary is guaranteed over that span. Even if he were to hang up his cleats, though, the 31-year-old’s career would prove to have been a lucrative one as he has more than $42MM in total earnings.

“I’m undecided at the moment,” Waller told Dan Duggan of The Athletic (subscription required). “It’s really the idea of signing up for another journey. It’s tough, it’s long, it requires a lot. And if you’re not fully bought into every single thing of the process, it’s going to be tough. I feel like at the end of the day, you’re doing guys a disservice if you’re not all the way in.”

The former sixth-rounder topped 1,100 yards in consecutive seasons with the Raiders, demonstrating his ability as one of the league’s most dynamic tight ends when healthy. Waller has been limited to 32 games in three years since then, however, something which factored heavily into his trade from Vegas to New York. In 12 games with the Giants, he posted 552 yards and one touchdown on 52 catches.

Waller noted he has no firm timeline on his decision, adding the Giants have not imposed one. Still, the team would no doubt prefer to have clarity with free agency and the draft on the horizon. Replacing the Georgia Tech product would become a key priority for a team already in need of pass-catching additions if necessary. Health and finances are factors going into Waller’s thought process, but he noted his ultimate decision will come down to “deeper” reasons.

“I’m not just coming back to collect an extra check, because that’s not what I’m trying to do or who I’m trying to be,” he added. “At this point in my life, I’m blessed to be able to be more than OK financially. Plus, if the only reason I’m doing something is because of an amount of money, I know that’s not a decision I need to be making.”

TE Darren Waller Contemplating Retirement

TODAY, 8:50am: Not so fast. Waller is still considering retirement and is “undecided” on his NFL future, per Schwartz and Dunleavy. The New York Post duo add that the Giants were “convinced” that Waller was returning following a conversation with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Now, they’re facing the prospect of having to find a new tight end for next season.

FRIDAY, 12:45pm: Things did not go according to plan for the Giants or Darren Waller in 2023. After the veteran tight end gave thought to hanging up his cleats, though, he will remain in New York for at least one more season.

Waller was acquired via trade from the Raiders last March. Vegas had grown frustrated with his injury troubles during his time with the team, and the move provided an opportunity to start over. However, hamstring issues continued to lead to missed time, and the 31-year-old was limited to 12 games with the Giants.

Paul Schwartz and Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post report Waller contemplated retirement following another frustrating campaign. The former Pro Bowler managed 52 catches for 552 yards and one touchdown in his debut New York season, figures which fell well short of his best years with the Raiders. Poor play along the offensive line quarterback injuries hampered the team as well, of course, but few would argue with Waller being a cut candidate given his contract status and injury history.

In spite of that, the Post reports notes that the Giants will retain him for 2024. Waller has three more years on his deal, but none of his base salary is guaranteed in that span. He is due to carry cap hits ranging from $14MM to $17.5MM between now and 2026, and in the next two seasons a release would yield notable cap savings. The same would also be true if the Giants moved on via a Post-June 1 designation this year, but they will instead keep Waller in the fold for another season.

Dunleavy adds that New York has been connected to a free agent move at the tight end spot this offseason. A veteran backup could complement Waller’s skillset while providing insurance against further missed time. If no agreement is worked out on that front, the Giants also have 2022 fourth-rounder Daniel Bellinger in place on his rookie contract.

Adding at the skill positions will be a major priority for New York this offseason, regardless of if a Daniel Jones successor is drafted or Saquon Barkley is retained. A bounce-back season from Waller would go a long way in leading the team to an improved showing on offense, and he will have the opportunity to deliver one in 2024.

Giants Activate TE Darren Waller From IR

DECEMBER 16: It didn’t take much practice for the Giants to deem Waller ready to return. Two days after opening his 21-day practice window, New York has announced Waller’s activation off of IR. The 31-year-old tight end is still listed as questionable heading into Sunday’s trip to New Orleans, but if he’s available to play, it’s an immediate upgrade to the Giants’ offense. Despite having not played since October, Waller is still second on the team in both receptions and receiving yards. If healthy, Waller will take most of the offensive snaps with Daniel Bellinger, pushing converted wide receiver Lawrence Cager back to a reserve role.

DECEMBER 14, 11:02am: In a move which comes as little surprise given Waller’s comments, the Giants have indeed designated him for return. He now has 21 days to be activated, and he could be brought back onto the active roster in time for Week 15. New York has five IR activations remaining.

DECEMBER 14, 8:58am: The Giants’ offense could be close to getting a notable boost. Tight end Darren Waller remains on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury, but he feels confident he will be able to play in the near future.

Waller has not played since Week 8 after he encountered his most recent hamstring issue. The team’s decision to place him on IR guaranteed a four-week absence, but the Giants can now bring him back at any time. Doing so would require designating him for return, which would open his 21-day practice window. That has still not happened, but Waller’s remarks indicate he is ready to return to action.

“Just a matter of them opening up the window and I’ll be at practice,” the Pro Bowler said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post“Whenever that is, I’ll be out there. I’m just waiting [for] the word.”

Despite missing signficant time, Waller ranks second on the Giants in both receptions (26) and yards (384). Being able to return to the field would thus give the team another option in the passing game, something which would be a welcomed addition. New York ranks last in the league with an average of 180 passing yards per game, though the offense has received a spark in recent weeks with undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito under center.

While Waller could help the Giants continue their winning streak if he were to be activated in time for Week 15, a return to the field at any point could help him reclaim some value from an otherwise disappointing debut season with the team. The 31-year-old arrived with signficant expectations after being traded by the Raiders this offseason, given his own track record and the Giants’ lack of proven pass-catching options. Waller has scored just one touchdown in 2023, eclipsing 76 yards in a game twice to date.

The former sixth-rounder is under contract through 2026, and he is due eight-figure compensation each year beginning in 2024. Roughly $2.5MM is guaranteed each season, however, so the Giants would be able to move on from him with relative ease if they elected to do so. Waller could play his way into New York’s long-term plans with a return to the field and strong play, though, something which could be around the corner.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/4/23

Today’s minor moves and gameday callups for Week 9:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

  • Elevated: QB Dresser Winn

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

With Kyler Murray not being activated from injured reserve this week, the Cardinals are heading into Week 9 with Clayton Tune as the only quarterback on their active roster. Driskel will be called up for the week as a standard gameday elevation to back up Tune.

With Matthew Stafford listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game, the Rams are adding some depth at the quarterback position. Dresser Winn had a breakout 2022 campaign at UT Martin, tossing 18 touchdowns while adding another three scores on the ground. He joined the Rams as an UDFA but was cut at the end of the preseason. He had a brief stint in the Canadian Football League before rejoining the Rams practice squad earlier this week. If Stafford can’t go, Brett Rypien will get the call under center for the Rams.

Peters will be elevated for the second straight week in Seattle. The 41-year-old, playing in his 19th NFL season, split snaps with right tackle Stone Forsythe last week against Cleveland.

NFL Injury Rumors: Giants, Banks, Stafford

The Giants received some good news with the announcement that starting quarterback Daniel Jones has received clearance to play and is line to start Week 9 in Las Vegas. In the same breath, though, New York was forced into the realization that it will be without Jones’ safety net and security blanket as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tight end Darren Waller will both be absent this weekend and, potentially, longer, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

Taylor sustained a rib cage injury that knocked him out of last week’s overtime loss to the Jets. Waller is also dealing with some injury trouble concerning his groin and hamstring. Despite the injuries last week, Taylor and Waller led the Giants in passing and receiving, respectively, in the loss, despite only totaling eight yards passing and four yards receiving.

Raanan relayed the report from head coach Brian Daboll, who mentioned that he doesn’t expect either player back any time soon. In fact, the head coach didn’t rule a stint on injured reserve for Taylor or Waller.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFL, starting with a Texans rookie starter:

  • Houston placed rookie center Jarrett Patterson, who had been forced into the starting lineup due to other injuries along the offensive line, on IR on Tuesday. The specifics of Patterson’s injury weren’t reported at the time, but Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 informed us this week that Patterson suffered a broken fibula. After receiving multiple medical opinions, Patterson will avoid surgery but is still expected to miss six to eight weeks.
  • On the second to last drive of last week’s loss to Cincinnati, 49ers starting left guard Aaron Banks suffered a foot injury that he wouldn’t report until finishing the game. Per a report by David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone, head coach Kyle Shanahan communicated that he expects Banks to miss a few weeks with a turf toe injury. “Yeah, with turf toe, you never know,” Shanahan said. “So, they told me it should be a few weeks, is what I got here. I know that’s a little vague, but I would say that means at least three weeks.” Luckily for San Francisco, one of those weeks should include the team’s Week 9 bye.
  • While dealing with a UCL sprain suffered in this past weekend’s loss to Dallas, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has been classified as day-to-day. After testing out the thumb injury on Tuesday, Stafford sat out the remainder of this week’s practices, according to Kevin Patra of NFL Network. Still, head coach Sean McVay reported Stafford will be labeled as questionable heading into the Week 9 and will be a game-time decision to play. If Stafford is unavailable on Sunday, backup quarterback Brett Rypien will make the start. Rypien has gone 2-1 in three starts over his first four years in the league but has thrown twice as many interceptions (8) as touchdowns (4). Either way, Los Angeles will leave Sunday headed towards a bye week, allowing Stafford an extra week of rest to potentially return for Week 11.

Giants TE Darren Waller To Miss Time

Darren Waller is unlikely to be in uniform when the Giants face the Raiders, nixing the Week 9 reunion encounter. The veteran tight end also cited his last Raiders season in pointing to a potential multiweek absence this year.

Once again battling a hamstring injury, Waller said he expects to be out “weeks,” per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard. Referring to this latest hamstring malady as one that “might take a little bit” to heal, Waller expects to miss time. While Waller has appeared on the Giants’ injury report with groin and hamstring trouble this season, he has played in every game this season.

But the talented tight end referenced his 2022 hamstring injury, one that caused him to miss eight games last season, regarding his potential plans for rehabbing this latest ailment. Waller, 31, said (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan) he rushed back from last season’s hamstring injury, which caused him to be shut down again. Waller missed three games but appeared close to returning midway through last season, but an aggravation led to the Raiders placing him on IR. Waller spent five weeks on IR. The Raiders then expressed frustration with Waller during his stay on IR; the team parted ways with him via the March trade.

The Raiders swiftly bailed on the power structure that jettisoned Waller, who had been a key performer for the team during the Jon Gruden years. The Josh McDanielsDave Ziegler regime still extended Waller just before the start of last season, after an aggressive push — which included an agent change — by the Pro Bowl tight end. The Raiders traded Waller for the No. 100 overall pick this year and replaced him by drafting Michael Mayer in Round 2.

Effectively punting on the tight end position following Evan Engram‘s Jaguars defection, the Giants have Waller signed through 2026. While they could have moved on free of charge after this season, an offseason restructure will prevent that. Talk of a future separation are premature, as Waller has helped a struggling offense this year. His 384 receiving yards lead the Giants; he caught seven passes for 98 yards in their win over the Commanders.

NFL Injury Updates: Armstead, Andrews, Waller, Okudah, Moss

The Dolphins are expected to be productive on offense with a healthy Tua Tagovailoa under center, but protection for him up front will be critical to his success. Miami will be shorthanded up front to begin the campaign.

Left tackle Terron Armstead is out for the Dolphins’ opener against the Chargers, as noted by NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe. The four-time Pro Bowler is dealing with back, knee and ankle injuries and has not practiced since August 16. He was carted off the field that day, which represented a setback from his ongoing recovery from offseason knee surgery.

Armstead, 32, expressed optimism that he would be healthy in time for Week 1 before suffering the new injuries last month. His absence will be sorely missed given his importance to the team as a high-end blocker when available, and the five-year, $75MM pact he signed with the Dolphins last offseason. Wolfe notes that veteran Kendall Lamm is expected to get the nod in place of Armstead.

Here are some other injury updates in advance of Sunday’s action:

  • The focal point of the Ravens‘ new-look passing game will likely not be in action tomorrow. Tight end Mark Andrews was listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report, but he is not expected to play against the Texans, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The three-time Pro Bowler has been dealing with a quad injury recently, but he practiced on a limited basis each day this week. If he does indeed miss the contest, Baltimore will turn to 2022 draftees Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar at the TE spot, while leaning on a revamped receiver room which added Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round rookie Zay Flowers in the offseason.
  • Darren Waller‘s Giants debut may be delayed. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the 30-year-old is dealing with a hamstring injury, and his availability for Monday night against the Cowboys is in question. Waller is no stranger to hamstring issues, and they caused signficant missed time during his Raiders tenure. Upon being traded to New York, he received an opportunity to serve as the team’s top pass-catcher, so any absence would deal a blow to the Giants’ offense. 2022 fourth-rounder Daniel Bellinger would take on an increased role at the TE spot if Waller were unable to play.
  • Cornerback Jeff Okudah has been ruled out by the Falcons, Wolfe notes. The former No. 3 pick had a disappointing run in Detroit which included a number of significant injuries, one of which was a 2021 Achilles tear. Plenty is at stake for him in Atlanta, as he is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Okudah, 24, suffered a leg injury last month and his recovery was not expected to last deep into the start of the regular season. Free agent signing Tre Flowers could step into a starting role opposite A.J. Terrell against the Panthers on Sunday.
  • Colts running back Zack Moss was downgraded to doubtful by a team announcement on Saturday. He is recovering from a broken arm, and it was always in the air whether or not he would recover in time to play Week 1. Of course, the absence of the former Bills draftee will compound the fact that Jonathan Taylor is on the PUP list to begin the season, meaning he will be sidelined for at least four weeks. Plenty of rushing responsibility will likely fall to former UDFA Deon Jackson and 2021 Rams seventh-rounder Jake Funk in quarterback Anthony Richardson‘s NFL debut.

Darren Waller Injuries Led Raiders To Pursue Trade; Team Tried To Re-Sign Foster Moreau

As the Raiders attempted to regroup after their 2019 Antonio Brown trade netted them zero game appearances from the mercurial talent, a Darren Waller flier paid considerable dividends. Waller anchored multiple Raiders passing attacks, leading to two contract extensions.

The second of those came just before last season, when Waller hired Drew Rosenhaus to hammer out a three-year, $51MM deal that was finalized just before Week 1. However, Waller ended up missing more time due to injury last season. As the 2023 league year began, the Raiders traded Waller to the Giants for a third-round compensatory pick — the same choice the Chiefs sent over for Kadarius Toney last year.

It is not especially common to see teams bail on players months after authorizing extensions, and while rumors about off-field issues cropped up, Adam Caplan of ProFootballNetwork.com notes the Raiders are believed to have grown concerned about Waller’s mounting injury trouble. Some Raiders staffers viewed the injury trouble as a big enough issue to explore the trade, per Caplan. Trade talks with the Packers even occurred before last year’s deadline.

Waller, 30, has missed 14 games over the past two seasons. Last year, hamstring trouble led to eight absences. Waller missed three games before being placed on IR, ensuring he would be sidelined for at least four more. The nagging issue ended up taking two months of game action off Waller’s schedule, and his extended absence led to some in-house frustration. While the veteran tight end returned in mid-December and played the final four Raiders games, the team still decided to accept the Giants’ offer and move on after four-plus years.

The Raiders initially signed Waller off the Ravens’ practice squad late during the 2018 season. In 2019, the converted wide receiver who nearly saw substance-abuse issues lead him out of the NFL posted a 1,145-yard receiving season. A year later, Waller accumulated 1,196 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2021, however, ankle trouble affected Waller during training camp and then recurred in-season. An IT band injury sustained during the Raiders’ Thanksgiving win over the Cowboys later cost Waller four games.

Lacking the receiving talent the Raiders currently possess, the Giants will count on Waller shaking off his injury problems. Waller’s contract, which the Giants restructured soon after acquiring him, runs through 2025. Although the restructure makes a future cut slightly more expensive, the Giants can move on from Waller and take only a $2.5MM dead-money hit by designating him as a post-June 1 cut in 2024. While the team did trade a third-round pick for the accomplished pass catcher — one of just eight tight ends to ever record two 1,100-yard receiving seasons — the Giants can move on rather cheaply despite Waller securing a position-leading AAV from the Raiders last September.

Waller’s injuries led to increased Foster Moreau time. The former fourth-round pick was not a notable part of the Raiders’ passing attack in 2019 or 2020, but as Waller became increasingly unavailable, the team needed its backup more. Moreau combined for 63 receptions, 793 yards and five touchdown receptions over the past two years. The Raiders attempted to re-sign Moreau, Caplan adds, but ended up going with a combination of UFA addition Austin Hooper and second-round pick Michael Mayer.

Moreau also saw a cancer diagnosis hijack his free agency. The Bengals hosted the fifth-year player on a visit, but a subsequent Saints meeting led to a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis. But Moreau is now in remission and signed to a three-year, $12.23MM Saints contract. As the Raiders turn the page at tight end and quarterback, the LSU alum and New Orleans native will play for his hometown team and keeping working with Derek Carr.

TE Darren Waller Not Surprised By Raiders Trade

Darren Waller struggled to find his footing with new head coach Josh McDaniels leading the way in Las Vegas. Even after the tight end inked a three-year, $51MM extension last offseason, there were rumblings that he had become a source of frustration within the organization during the 2022 season.

[RELATED: Raiders To Trade Darren Waller To Giants]

Waller was ultimately traded to the Giants back in March, and the tight end acknowledged that the move didn’t come as a huge surprise.

“Not totally shocked,” Waller told Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I had heard some things. There were different moments throughout the year that I heard I may be traded or I may not. So the actual event of it wasn’t too shocking.

“But I didn’t expect it to be the Giants.”

Following 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020, Waller was limited to only 11 games in 2021. He missed another eight games in 2022, a factor that likely contributed to the organization’s frustrations. It seemed like rival teams were aware of the disconnect between Waller and the coaching staff; we heard that the Packers tried to trade for the player midseason, and agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed that the front office even shopped Waller last offseason.

So, when Waller was ultimately traded, the move naturally didn’t come as a huge shock to the 30-year-old. Waller admitted that he was surprised that he was dealt to New York, perhaps because they hadn’t been definitively listed as a suitor (the only two reported teams that had shown interest were the Packers and Dolphins).

On paper, the Giants seemed like a logical landing spot. The team didn’t do much last season to replace Evan Engram, leaning mostly on Daniel Bellinger at tight end. In New York, Waller should emerge as one of Daniel Jones‘ top targets, and the tight end is excited about the opportunity.

“It’s been great,” Waller said of his Giants experience. “It’s been a great challenge. I love a good challenge and just forming a new relationship with my teammates. They’re really excited about winning. They’re really solid about doing things the right way and continuing to build a foundation on what they started last year. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”