NFL insider Michael Lombardi claims Darren Waller’s bargain price hinges on “durability.”


March 19, 2023 | 6:00 p.m

When Darren Waller joined the New York Giants early in free agency, many wondered, “Why now?”

On March 14, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweeted the packers offered her second-round pick in exchange for the 30-year tight end during last year’s regular season.

But after that, Las Vegas traded Waller for a third-round pick and took even less for the one-time Pro Bowler.

League insider and former NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi commented on the trade.

This is about durability Lombardi, who is a former Patriots receiver coach, said of Waller on his podcast, The GM Shuffle.

Darren Waller was traded to the Giants after an injury-plagued season. Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

“This is about, ‘I’m preparing to pay you $11 million, we changed your contract, and bye week, instead of rehab, you went home for four days and piled up the fines. Bye week you went home and just didn’t talk to anyone. I just went home and left a message saying, “Hey, I’m fine. I do not care. I’m going to Southern California…”

Lombardi himself has two sons who are employed by the Raiders, which lends more credence to this report.

Lombardi used to work as a receiver coach for the Patriots. Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

But that’s only one side of what could be a biased story.

Regardless, the Giants are looking to wrap their arms around Waller and make him a key part of this rebuilding offensive that has already added Parris Campbell and resigned Darius Slayton.

Waller emerged as one of the top tight ends in the NFL in 2020. Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Waller has $11 million on his contract this year, and his contract next year is not guaranteed, making the 2023 season a proof-it-deal for the often-injured tight end.

He has played just 18 games out of a possible 33 in the last two seasons.

But Waller still has enormous potential.

During his 2020 Pro Bowl year, Waller recorded 107 receptions for 1,196 yards, a league-leading tight end record.

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