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Giants TE Darren Waller still hasn't 'made a decision yet' on playing in 2024

A month has passed since Darren Waller said he would decide on retirement soon, and the Giants tight end remains up in the air.

Waller, who turns 32 in December, is several years removed now from his consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, with a downtick in performance and an uptick in injuries leading him to contemplate his NFL future.

"I haven't made a decision yet," Waller recently told Forbes. "It's just a matter of respecting the process. There's so much that goes into the process of going from April through February of an NFL season. The commitment that it requires. I'm a guy who's evolving, who's growing, who's played a lot of football and been through a lot."

Waller played last year with New York following a trade from the Raiders, who he spent the previous five seasons with after turning both his life and career around to become a force at the tight end position.

He collected 197 catches for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns in 32 games from 2019-2020, but he managed to suit up for just 11 contests in 2021, which resulted in 665 yards and two scores on 55 catches. A new regime under Josh McDaniels took over for Las Vegas in 2022, another injury-affected year that saw Waller amass 388 receiving yards in nine games before he was shipped out during the offseason.

The TE caught just one TD and collected 552 yards, with another five games lost to injury in 2023 for Big Blue.

It's been a grind, one that can only continue if Waller is all in.

"I'm at the point now where I'm like, 'OK, how much am I willing to give to the process,'" Waller said. "If it's not 100%, it's a disservice to the teammates and the organization that I have. I'm still trying to make a decision on that and it's tough to make one or the other out of emotion."

As for the Giants, they have taken some small precautions, beefing up the tight end room during free agency. New York signed Jack Stoll and Chris Manhertz in mid-March. Daniel Bellinger and Tyree Jackson are also on the roster from previous seasons. None amount individually to the player that Waller is, but the position is well stocked three weeks out from the 2024 NFL Draft, where the Giants could very well add at the position regardless of Waller's decision.

Waller currently counts $14 million against the cap heading into 2024. If he were to retire, New York would save $6.7 million but carry $7.4 million in dead money.

If he were to continue playing, he realizes an offense that ranked 30th in scoring last season desperately needs to establish an identity as Daniel Jones returns from his ACL tear and the Giants experience life without Saquon Barkley.

"Offensively you have to find a way to form an identity," Waller said. "Because there's talented guys all over the place that can make plays. It's just finding that identity and being consistent. We would have flashes, but nowhere near good enough to give ourselves a chance. I speak on that from an offensive standpoint, because I feel defensively, there were so many times they did enough for us to win."

Whether or not Waller elects to remain a part of shaping that identity is still yet to be determined.

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