Darren Waller was just as surprised as many in the NFL were when the Raiders decided to trade the star tight end to the Giants earlier this week. After all, Waller just inked a three-year, $51 million contract extension with Las Vegas back in September, but on Tuesday -- a day after he returned from his honeymoon -- found himself being shipped to New York.
"I did not see this coming," he told reporters Wednesday, via NFL.com. "I was getting ready to just do everything I could to make myself available for the Raiders and get ready for everything that was going to start in mid-April. It caught me off guard, but it's the nature of the business."
It also doesn't appear like Waller and Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels were on the best of terms. Waller and WNBA star Kelsey Plum recently got married on March 4 and the two were keeping their wedding plans private. However, McDaniels leaked it out during an interview at the NFL Combine, which upset Waller, per The Athletic. Plum even took a shot at McDaniels following the trade tweeting that it was "prolly cause he wasn't invited to the wedding."
Of course, it's unclear whether or not that had anything to do with this transaction, but the timing is notable.
New York sent the No. 100 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft for Waller, inserting him into an offense that has recently extended Daniel Jones and retained running back Saquon Barkley, who was hit with the franchise tag earlier this offseason. When healthy, Waller should be a fascinating addition to this offense under head coach Brian Daboll. That said, Waller has battled injuries over the last couple of seasons and was limited to nine games in 2022.
"I believe wholeheartedly in myself, and I believe that through action and through consistent performance, Giants fans will believe as well," he said. "They can have questions at this moment about my health. Those are legitimate concerns, but I'm somebody that I believe I've addressed those issues. I'm willing to come out here and to be the best I can be to be a weapon for this team, a tool that this team can use to get to that next level that they want to go to. That's exactly what I'm going to do."
Waller, 30, noted that he is adjusting his offseason workout plan to ensure he is peaking when the season starts rather than overworking himself during his offseason training to the point where he is exhausted come training camp.