At first regarded by many (including me) as a surprise, the Giants’ decision to put tight end Jake Ballard on waivers shouldn’t have been.
Because Ballard has fewer than four years of service, the rules require him to be exposed to waivers before being sent to injured reserve, if the move comes at any point before the initial roster cuts from 90 to 80 players.
Though the Giants could have placed Ballard on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the outset of training camp, he would have continued to consume one of the team’s roster spots. Placing him on injured reserve was the only way to get him off the active roster.
And waiving him first is the only way to put him on injured reserve, since the league wants to ensure that healthy players aren’t stashed on IR. (In theory, if Ballard were healthy, someone else would be inclined to claim his contract.)
That’s why Ballard, who definitely isn’t healthy after tearing an ACL in the Super Bowl, doesn’t have a problem with the move. He’ll get his full salary of $540,000 in 2012, and he’ll likely be back with the Giants in 2013.