The Las Vegas Raiders made a surprising move on Tuesday when they traded former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants for just a third-round pick. The move which was rather shocking comes on the heels of Waller having an injury-riddled season which saw him available for just nine games. The talented hybrid pass catcher, says he was shocked by the move, and some even wonder if it stems from his recent marriage to Las Vegas Aces star Kelsey Plum.
The belief is Waller was upset that McDaniels leaked Walker’s wedding plans in Las Vegas Review-Journal after the aforementioned McDaniels and Raiders GM Dave Ziegler told reporters at the NFL Combine.
The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, tweeted that the Waller was in fact upset about his nuptials being leaked by his coach and GM.
While we’ll never know how true this speculation really is, it is rather telling that Waller who was said to be intrical piece of the team’s future plans was moved all of a sudden.
Plum Says No Invite In Sight May Have Played A Role
McDaniels isn’t known to be one of the more well-liked coaches in the league, and in fact the way he and Ziegler handled quarterback Derek Carr’s benching and subsequent release didn’t sit well with a lot of the team.
Waller didn’t invite either of the Raider brass and that caused his new wife and reigning WNBA champion Plum to tweet this in response to ESPN NFL analyst Robert Griffin’s tweet about the situation.
It’s funny, but also crazy that the two stars expected to be playing professionally in Vegas, and that changed in the blink of an eye.
But Waller is taking it all in stride, and seemed pretty excited to join a rising Giants team, and newly-rich quarterback Daniel Jones.
Waller Talks Being Consistent And Healthy
In his first interview since being dealt, Waller who’s looking to get back to 2019 and 2020 when he racked up 197 total receptions for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns in 31 starts Since then he’s been limited to 20 starts and just 83 total receptions, for 1,053 yards and only five touchdowns.
Staying healthy is something Waller knows he needs to do, and he intends on doing so.
“For me, number one, the growth starts with just being available as much as possible for the team,” Waller said Wednesday.
“I feel like I’m a football player,” he said. “I’ll line up out wide. I’ll line up in the slot. I’ll lineup inline. I’ll block—I’ll crack the end it you want me to. Whatever you ask me to do, I feel like I can do it at a high level, and that’s what I plan on doing here.”
The move to the Giants should be good for Waller with head coach Brian Daboll, the reigning NFL Coach of the Year, loving to use the tight end in his offense. In McDaniels’ offense Waller was never really a great fit because he’d rather him block more than be a receiver, which is where he’s a matchup nightmare.
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