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If Josh McDaniels Really Did Trade Darren Waller Over Not Getting Invited to His Wedding, He Has What it Takes to Be Truly Great

John Locher. Shutterstock Images.

In one of the most surprising moves of the still young NFL offseason, the Raiders traded one of their top offensive players, Darren Waller - a man with two seasons of 1,000-plus yards - for the 100th pick in the draft. A move that not only has Giants fans like my boy Clem aroused:

… but also aroused suspicion. (Wordplay! That's the Old Balls Difference!) 

Granted, Josh McDaniels has a history of making inexplicable personnel moves (drafting Tim Tebow in the 1st round always comes to mind), but this one seems decidedly … off. Like there's some other, non-football motive. And those aroused suspicions get only thicker and meatier when one considers this is the same Darren Waller that the Raiders just signed to a 3-year, $51 million extension. 

So what gives? The internet has suggestions:

For her part, the new Mrs. Darren Waller seems to agree the move is wedding related:


Maybe Kelsey Plum is making a joke, as the "lol' suggests. If so, it's a good one. But just because it's funny doesn't mean there's no truth to it. People get extra squirrelly when it comes to wedding etiquette. They tend to take it personally in ways other things don't bother them. (I'm not talking about myself; every day I open the mailbox and there's no invitation taking up one of precious Saturdays and demanding I provide a gift is a good day. And my philosophy is that if someone gets married and insults me by not asking me to come, just to get back at that them, I don't show up. That'll learn 'em.) Friendships get lost over such things. Families break up. Hell, wars have been fought over these slights. Many, many wars. So is it too much to believe that Waller's wedding faux pas spelled the end of his career in Las Vegas?

It's at least plausible. McDaniels goes to bat for his tight end with a big extension. Waller responds with a tough, injury-riddled season (9 games, 28 receptions, 388 yards, 3 TDs). And during that time, the happy couple draw up their invitation list that includes a lot of people in the Raiders organization, just not the head coach. Embarrassed and in a fit of pique, McDaniels spills the beans about the nuptials that Waller and Plum were trying to keep quiet. Waller gets angry. Tensions rise. Phone calls are made. A draft pick is offered. The rest is history. 

Again, we're not sure this is how it played out. But stranger things have happened. And if it's true, well then by all that is holy, Josh McDaniels truly has what it takes to be one of the best coaches and executives to ever grace the game. That is Machiavellian. Diabolical. Positively ruthless. It would prove he has the cold-blooded disposition to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. And signals his willingness to ruin - or at the very least, rearrange - the life of anyone who gets in his way. I mean, just imagine the next player who wants to raise some personal issue with McDaniels. Something bugging him he wants to address. Now imagine that player loves living in Vegas (not a stretch) and wants to stay a Raider for life. He'll think twice before trying to settle his beef for fear he's going to be sent off to some football version of the Gulag Archipelago. And either uproot his family, or have to live without them six months out of the year. 

You can't stop a man willing to go to these lengths over something as trivial as a wedding. I don't know if the speculation is true. Just that I hope it is, because the McDaniels fan in me is dying to see where this is leading.