Earlier this week, when the New York Giants released Jake Ballard, their starting tight end last season, for injury reasons, there was immediate speculation, fueled by comments by Ballard’s agent himself, that Ballard would be resigned by the Giants in 2013 when he was fully healthy. However, that is no longer going to happen because the Patriots put in a waiver claim for him and claimed him today, the only team to do so. Ironically, the Patriots are the team that the Giants beat in the Super Bowl in February, the game during which Ballard tore his ACL.
Ballard is still highly unlikely to contribute at all in 2012 and the Patriots will probably stash him on IR after he starts the season on the PUP. They have a ton of tight ends anyway, having signed Daniel Fells, Bo Sciafe, and now Jake Ballard behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez this offseason. This move was probably made with 2013 in mind, when Ballard will be an exclusive right free agent.
Ballard is a massive tight end at 6-6 275 and a great blocker, but contributed a good amount in the passing game for the Giants last year, catching 38 passes for 604 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’d still be nothing more than the #3 tight end for the Patriots for the foreseeable future, but Alge Crumpler saw a good amount of the field in 2010 as a #3 tight end. Like Crumpler, the Patriots may see Ballard as purely a blocker.