Darren Waller has only been a Giant for a few days, but he’s already endearing himself to the franchise.
The tight end, acquired in a trade with the Raiders on Wednesday, helped the Giants add an extra $7.4 million in cap space by restructuring his contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
The Giants converted $9.835 million of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus to drop his cap hit from $11.875 million to just over $4 million, creating the additional cushion.
Waller is part of a pass-catching overhaul for GM Joe Schoen’s team, who added new receivers Parris Campbell and Jeff Smith this week, and re-signed Darius Slayton.
Despite battling injuries the past two seasons, the 30-year-old Waller becomes an immediate option for quarterback Daniel Jones.
“I believe wholeheartedly in myself, and I believe that through action and consistent performance Giants fans will believe as well,” Waller said Wednesday. “They can have questions at this moment about my health — those are legitimate concerns — but I believe I’ve addressed those issues.
“I’m willing to be the best I can be to be a weapon for this team — a tool that this team can use to get to the next level they want to go to.”
Waller was one of the NFL’s top tight ends, notching back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019-20, totaling 197 catches for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns in all 32 games.
However, he was reportedly unhappy with Raiders coach Josh McDaniels spilling the news of his wedding to WNBA star Kelsey Plum to reporters this offseason.
Still, he was not expecting to be dealt.
“It caught me off guard,” Waller said, “but that’s the nature of the business.”
The cost for Waller was a third-round pick, No. 100 overall, in the 2023 draft, which the Giants had acquired for sending Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs last season.
The Giants have been active in free agency, adding Campbell, Smith, linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
With an extra $8 million in cap space now, it seems Schoen might not be done yet.