Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 03-14-2023

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
The Unrestricted Free Agency signing frenzy is in full action this week, so the Giants did something unexpected - they traded for a Pro Bowl tight end.

Yep, while other teams were looking for bargains, the Giants' personnel squad led by GM Joe Schoen made a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders for tight end Darren Waller, who is already signed and whose income is only guaranteed through this coming season.

Surprisingly, the cost for Waller was "only" a third-round draft pick next month - and it will be the one the Giants acquired from Kansas City in the mid-season trade of failed first round draftee wide receiver Kadarius Toney.

Waller, 6-5 and 255, is a product of Georgia Tech who has been in the NFL for seven years following his drafting by Baltimore in 2015 (sixth round). In 2018 he was claimed off the Ravens' practice squad by the Raiders.

The Giants' projected starter has had a troubled early career. In 2017 he was suspended for one year for violating the league's substance abuse policy. At the age of 15, Waller was charged with abusing Oxycodone, at 16 it was alcohol and in 2017 he overdosed on Oxycodone. He spent 34 days in a rehabilitation center and when released finished his high school career and accepted a scholarship to Georgia Tech.

The Giants' plan is to utilize him along with last year's rookie standout, Daniel Bellinger (fourth round), often at the same time, to provide additional receiving insurance for the recently re-signed Daniel Jones, now the proud possessor of a four-year, $160 million contract.

Waller is 31 and has played in only 17 games over the past two seasons. Last year he caught 30 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, but over his full career he has 298 receptions for 3,572 yards and 19 touchdowns. In each of the past two seasons he was hampered by a pulled hamstring muscle.

His current contract, signed last year when he was still a Raider, was for four years and $46 million but only carries a guarantee for 2023, when he will earn $11 million with a $200,000 workout bonus and $1.25 million per-game bonus. He remains the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and when healthy qualified as the second- or third-best at the position in the league.

Waller earned a Pro Bowl designation after the 2020 season when he caught 107 passes for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns.

For the musically-inclined fans, Waller is the great-grandson of former jazz pianist and legend Thomas "Fats" Waller.

--- Then, following the free Agent trend, Schoen signed former Indianapolis Colts' inside linebacker Bobby Okereke (6-2, 235, Stanford).

The deal was done yesterday, but most news sources properly waited until Tuesday since the contract had not been signed and changes of mind, you know, can sour things in a hurry.

Okereke's last two seasons with the Colts resulted in 283 total tackles. He signed for a reported $40 million over four years and is expected to win an inside linebacker position as a starter. He was drafted in the third round of the 2019 collegiate body snatch.

--- The Giants also signed second-team running back Matt Breida to a new contract, one year for $3.2 million. He played in all 19 regular and playoff games in 2022, and his regular season numbers were 54 carries for 220 yards as the backup for Saquon Barkley.

You can subscribe Dave's newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here. - Team Giants

NOW - Send a request to for a free week's worth of news!

Previous Articles
Special Report

The Secondary
Special Report

Special Report

Last season game
Special Report

Philadelphia Eagles

Click on the Team Giants logo to be informed of all Giants game previews,
reviews and off season football news.