Darren Waller Speaks Out About Giants Future

Darren Waller

Getty Darren Waller has spoken out about his future with the New York Giants, amid speculation the Pro Bowl TE will retire.

The New York Giants still don’t know if Darren Waller is retiring from the NFL, but the Pro Bowl tight end at least provided some insight into what he’s thinking and reassured his employers he remains in training.

Waller spoke after an appearance “at Carrier Clinic, which is Hackensack Meridian Health’s flagship behavioral health campus,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Duggan revealed “Waller participated in a roundtable today about his battle with addiction.”

The 31-year-old also took the time to confirm he’s “just evaluating my overall commitment level” to return to the field this year. Waller doesn’t “feel like it’s fair to my teammates, fair to the franchise, fair to people that support it to have somebody out there that isn’t 100% committed to the entire journey from April to February.”

The note about Waller “still training at the level necessary if he decides to play,” per Duggan, is potentially significant. It indicates there’s still a chance Waller could return to be part of a passing game that got a significant boost when the Giants selected wide receiver Malik Nabers sixth overall in the 2024 NFL draft, a move endorsed by quarterback Daniel Jones.

Giants Still Need Darren Waller

Although he didn’t quite deliver as advertised last season, after arriving in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Giants still need Waller. There were enough glimpses of his talent to show what No. 12 can add to the offense.

Glimpses like this touchdown grab against the Washington Commanders, when Waller split zone coverage from the slot.

The ability to line up anywhere across formations and provide coverage mismatches against multiple defenders is what attracted the Giants to Waller. He did those things for fun during his peak years, a 90-catch season for the Raiders in 2019, followed by snagging 107 receptions a year later.

Injuries have slowed Waller since, with a hamstring problem landing him on injured reserve back in November. Having to sit out 20 games in three years has taken a toll on Waller.

It’s why he’s taking time to consider his commitment to starting another comeback. That process should prompt the Giants to work out a contingency plan during the draft.

Giants Have Options to Boost Receiving Corps

Adding Nabers to the fold finally gives quarterback Jones the elite deep threat on the perimeter he’s lacked for too long. Putting a bigger-bodied target next to Nabers, to dominate between the numbers, would complete a Jones-friendly draft haul for the Giants.

There are options, including Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders. The 21-year-old has similar move skills to Waller, while also possessing a sound understanding of how to exploit zone defenses.

Alternatively, a potential Day 3 pick like Penn State’s Theo Johnson would add some more muscle to the blocking department. The Giants should be well-stocked in the latter area after signing Chris Manhertz and Jack Stoll in free agency.

A better move might be to pursue a bulky wide receiver to complement Nabers and fellow speedster Jalin Hyatt. Somebody like 6-foot-3, 205-pound Brenden Rice, son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, or Florida States’s 6-foot-7, 235-pounder Johnny Wilson, would fit the bill.

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