Darren Waller finally shuts down rumors and tells Giants he's retiring

Giants fans received the news they were expecting after a long wait.
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Well, NY Giants fans received the news they had been expecting for a while when veteran tight end Darren Waller told the team he will not be back in 2024 and will be officially retiring from the National Football League. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

Many believed this news was coming sooner rather than later as the 31-year-old veteran had been considering retirement for some time and has had an eventful offseason, including a divorce from Las Vegas Aces star Kelsey Plum and prioritizing his music career.

Waller is retiring after just one season with the Giants. The former Pro Bowl tight end previously played with the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders. He had an up-and-down career since joining the league in 2016. Waller was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL season for violating the league's substance abuse policy and then again for the entire 2017 season before signing with the Raiders off the Ravens practice squad. Waller had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons with the Raiders before suffering multiple injuries and slowly declining performance-wise.

What does the Darren Waller retirement mean for the NY Giants?

He was traded to the Giants for a 2023 third-round pick, which had previously been traded from the Kansas City Chiefs for wide receiver Kadarius Toney. Waller had 52 receptions, 552 yards, and one touchdown this past season in 12 games. The TE has only played a full season twice in his career, back in 2019 and 2020, with hamstring issues being a nightmare for him of late.

While Big Blue fans expected to hear an announcement regarding Waller's status with mandatory minicamp sessions almost here, the organization prepared for this news when they decided to draft fourth-round rookie Theo Johnson out of Penn State. With Waller no longer on the Giants, we can expect Johnson and veteran Daniel Bellinger to take on more prominent roles this season. The tight ends room also includes veterans Jack Stoll, Chris Manhertz, and Lawrence Cager.

The Giants can finally move on from Waller and pivot to their younger depth at the position in Bellinger and Johnson. We expect both to compete throughout the summer for opportunities and the starting job come Week 1.

Bellinger has been with the team since 2022 and, despite some injury issues over the past two seasons, he has had a decent career with New York. On the other hand, Johnson was a highly-touted prospect as a three-year starter in college with the Nittany Lions, and he should be exciting to watch with the G-Men this year.

Waller's retirement also means the Giants will gain $11.6 million in cap space. That money can be used to fortify the roster. Giants' general manager Joe Schoen could use the money gained to sign another piece to help Big Blue's secondary ahead of this season.

One name that comes to mind is free agent safety Justin Simmons, who most recently played for the Denver Broncos. The Broncos waived the All-Pro free safety to save $14.5 million. We'll have to wait and see if the Giants make a move with the extra money, but it's now a certainty that Waller won't be making plays for the offense in 2024.