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Giants’ gamble on Ballard highlights risks of waiving injured players

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The Giants shocked the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and, to a lesser extent, Super Bowl XLVI.  The Patriots got a partial measure of revenge on Tuesday.

As MDS pointed out earlier in the day, the Pats claimed Giants tight end Jake Ballard on waivers, preventing the Giants from slipping him through to the reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and sliding him off the 90-man roster.

And that’s precisely what the Giants wanted to do — remove Ballard from the 90-man roster prematurely, stashing him on the reserve/PUP list and opening the spot that went to defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.

The Patriots, 31st on the waiver priority list and thus the only team to block the move, now will place Ballard on the 90-man roster.  The Patriots may waive him with the “failed physical” designation, exposing him to waivers and likely setting the stage for the Giants (or someone else) to claim his contract. Otherwise, the Pats will have to carry Ballard, who won’t play in 2012 after tearing an ACL in the Super Bowl, on the 90-man roster until the first wave of cuts in late August.

Even though the NFL has established this procedure to prevent teams from stashing young players who may not be injured, there’s a chance that old-guard owners like John Mara expect certain courtesies to be extended in situations like this.  Thus, there’s a chance that Mara and the Giants aren’t very happy right now with the Patriots.

There’s also a chance that Pats coach Bill Belichick claimed Ballard precisely for that very reason.  Though the Patriots displayed curious interest in veteran tight ends like Dallas Clark and Bo Scaife (they ultimately signed Scaife), they have no obvious need for a young tight end, given the presence of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both of whom entered the league in 2010 with Ballard.

Whether Ballard is insurance against something unforeseen happening to Gronk or Hernandez or whether Ballard will be dangled for a draft pick once healthy, Ballard is no longer a Giant — and the Giants can thank Bill Belichick for that.

And what the Giants likely muttering right now may sound a little like, “Thank you.”

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47 Responses to “Giants’ gamble on Ballard highlights risks of waiving injured players”
  1. profootballwalk says: Jun 12, 2012 8:36 PM

    The Patriots had two rookie tight ends claimed last year.

    If I was an owner, and my employees were granting other team ‘courtesies,’ I’d fire their a$$e$. What am I paying you for – to help some OTHER team?

  2. voxnovo says: Jun 12, 2012 8:36 PM

    Jerry Reese might be muttering a bit about the Patriots grabbing Ballard, but not that much.

    The Giants are big boys who know, when they put a player on waivers, that they risk losing that player. Had Ballard been regarded as a major asset, one can bet he’d have been retained on Big Blue’s own roster.

    What the G-Men suffered today can be likened to a mosquito bite — unwanted for sure, but no calamity.

    Therefore, Mike, let’s not be making it into more than it is.

  3. zack2482 says: Jun 12, 2012 8:40 PM

    Genius move by the Giants GM.

  4. ironhawk says: Jun 12, 2012 8:47 PM

    They probably are mad. But that’s life. When you are the one doing something you say “Hey, we have to do what it takes to win.” When it’s happening to you you say “There are supposed to be rules of politeness!”

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 12, 2012 8:55 PM

    “Thank you. And your mother too!”.

  6. 2hi2cu says: Jun 12, 2012 8:58 PM

    The Patriots have violated the “spirit” of the waiver wire. Expect John Mara to dock their salary cap and some draft picks.

  7. httr73 says: Jun 12, 2012 8:58 PM

    Happy to see any team stick it to Mara (still bitter about cap gate)

  8. oilman989 says: Jun 12, 2012 9:31 PM

    There are “unwritten rules” in every business; those that are adhered to but never mentioned. The Pats broke no formal protocol by claiming Ballard off waivers; in essence, the Giants gambled and lost.

    That said – this is, however, a move that appears to fit perfectly in the Belichick “revenge” category.

  9. xxwhodatxx says: Jun 12, 2012 9:34 PM

    An I the only one who thinks this is funny?

  10. crunchyclam says: Jun 12, 2012 9:41 PM

    Everyone is understating how YUUUGE the Ballard signing is. Get ready for a 3-headed TE Cerberus that will blow the roof off the NFL (in 2013-2014). All Belichick needs to do now is find some CB’s with torn ACL’s to stash on the roster. Pats confirmed for 2014 SB Champs!

  11. jwocky1 says: Jun 12, 2012 9:45 PM

    Take this Coughlin – Belichik

  12. whatifisayno says: Jun 12, 2012 9:51 PM

    In case anybody forgot, Ballard is NOT playing in 2012. The contract the Patriots just picked him up on expires after this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent. And do you really think New England would franchise him?

    This is assuming the Pats don’t just end up cutting him anyway before the end of training camp.

  13. backindasaddle says: Jun 12, 2012 10:00 PM

    Business…. just business.

  14. bullcharger says: Jun 12, 2012 10:40 PM

    Don’t waive the guy if you want to keep him. If the the Patriots are willing to keep a spot for the Ballard and the Giants weren’t, there shouldn’t be any complaining.

  15. gcbball3 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:53 PM

    voxnovo you clearly must not watch the game, in what was essentially jakes rookie year he started 13 of 14 games for the g man, hauling in 38 catches at 16 yards per catch and 4 td’s and guess what genious he was 4th on the team in receptions on a team loaded with offensive weapons. oh and you wanna hear the funny thing is he is also one of the top blocking tight ends in the league thats what hes known for. whoever ends up with ballard in 2013 will be getting a very gifted tight end who will do his job 100 percent and do it well, he didnt get much of an oppurtunity as a buckeye to catch the ball much but he has legit speed and size and can jump out of the gym. throw it his way and he wont be dropping it. i wish you a fast recovery jake and i hope you get another shot to show the nfl what you can do when the rocks thrown your way

  16. nnagi says: Jun 12, 2012 11:02 PM

    I’m pretty sure the Cowboys and Redskins were expecting certain courtesies…like not being docked salary cap space for refusing to engage in collusion with the rest of the league led by John Mara in regards to adhering to a salary cap that didn’t exist…this won’t be as bad as the 4 whoopings the Giants will be on the receiving end of this season…

  17. joyjoy69 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:07 PM

    Another possibility: Belichick, the “defensive genius” has once again shown a significant innovation in offense. Recognizing the premium paid for cover corners who can cover the most elite of speed receivers, they have found a way to beat them: by filling the field with monster Tight Ends who can run fast, make any route, and crush any 180lb CB who tries to beat them at the line. After bringing the spread offense back into style, making every team in the AFC East pay half their salary cap for a couple cover corners, they now build a power set with three TEs who can block for the single RB, or rush out into a pattern against an unprepared LB or CB. Half the teams in the league are trying to copy their amazing 2-TE set now, and they are adding talent at the position to stay ahead of the game! Can you imagine how hard it will be to prepare against an offense with Gronkowski, Hernandez, Ballard, one deep threat speedy WR and a skat back who can take advantage of three blockers to move the ball forward in 4-5 yard increments?! We’ll get a taste this year with Scaife in the game, but if Ballard comes back to form, this will be a scary offense for a couple years until the AFC East gets rid of the cover corners and puts 5 LBs with cover skills into the box… then the Pats will go back to a spread and win the deep game again…

  18. jrfrom508 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:26 PM

    Sadly enough, this brought a smile to my face. Anything to stick it to the giants. I hate them so…

    Go pats.

  19. jcg23 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:33 PM

    It is amazing the amount of butt hurt Giants fans saying that the only person this hurt was Ballard. I’m sorry? THE GIANTS CUT HIM. I think that was a pretty good idea of how much you value someone, injured or not.

    Ballard’s gonna be just fine on the Pattys squad next year. Apparently no one that is a fan of the Giants is aware of how the waiver wire works.

  20. j0esixpack says: Jun 12, 2012 11:36 PM

    Arlen Specter must be getting ready to launch an investigation.

    The Giants waive Ballard because he’s injured and they don’t want to pay him. They apparently are the victims here… After all who doesn’t like an employer who retains your rights but doesn’t want to pay you?

    Belchick has the temerity to actually want to pay they guy a half a million to rehab, so, apparently he is the villain… Most people can’t stand employers like that anyways.

    If the Giants wanted to keep him all they had to do is what Belichick did. Pay the man.

    Seems to me 31 other teams and their fans may just be mad at Belichick because their GMs, including the Giants, was asleep at the switch.

  21. dadeyemi says: Jun 12, 2012 11:39 PM

    note to everyone (especially pats fans who lost 3 consecutive games to the world champ GIANTS)

    notice how all of the discussion and quotes are coming from the media. Coughlin isn’t whining about unfairness or unwritten rules. nor is Mara, Reese, Eli etc. every year we turn an undrafted or low pic into am NFL player ( Cruz, boss, Bradshaw, j. Williams, Ballard, etc)

    keep whining. the giants will be fine

  22. bikelikemike says: Jun 12, 2012 11:45 PM

    This was simply an astute organization displaying why they’ve had such incredible success the last decade. Ballard showed potential to be one of the better TE’s in the league w/ his very sure hands and play after the catch. He burned the Pats at home in the regular season. This was a great gamble for a small investment, even if it’s bargaining capitol down the road.

  23. j0esixpack says: Jun 12, 2012 11:46 PM

    I think joy joy up there has got it more or less right. How do you defend against a monster three TE set with Brandon Lloyd stretching the field?

    For half a million Belichick retained the rights to the top free agent of 2013 and might even be able to play him this season.

    It’s like he just got a top ten draft pick in 2013 without expending a draft pick.

  24. armchairqb says: Jun 12, 2012 11:46 PM

    Anyone else think all this interest in TEs is a hint that Gronk’s ankle is a little more messed up than NE is letting on?

  25. armchairqb says: Jun 12, 2012 11:47 PM

    joyjoy69 says:

    “We’ll get a taste this year with Scaife in the game, but if Ballard comes back to form, this will be a scary offense for a couple years until the AFC East gets rid of the cover corners and puts 5 LBs with cover skills into the box… then the Pats will go back to a spread and win the deep game again…”

    So …we’re aiming at 2013 now, Pats fans?

  26. mullman7675 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:52 PM

    @jrfrom508: Of course you hate the giants. They slapped your pats TWICE in the only game that matters.

    William is a petty, small man.

  27. ajpurp says: Jun 12, 2012 11:53 PM

    I don’t get it, you people he isn’t playing in 2012 and the pats would have to resign him afterwards. So unless their planning on wining and dining him this season in the hopes he sticks around for less money next year…this move is utterly pointless. Really though, nice work.

  28. gpete1962 says: Jun 13, 2012 12:09 AM

    If BB wanted to stick it to the Giants he wouldn’t have taken Ballard He would have went after Mike Pope the “Tight End Maker”

  29. rc33 says: Jun 13, 2012 12:25 AM

    38 catches at 16 yards a catch and he’s 24 years old. The Giants shouldn’t have exposed this guy. Everyone understands what can happen if a guy’s put on waivers. Should’ve been approached differently.

  30. thraiderskin says: Jun 13, 2012 12:38 AM

    Well BB and Mr Kraft, hope you are prepared for when Mara strips your club of millions in cap space next year… I defintely think Jake is a good pickup for you though.

  31. east96st says: Jun 13, 2012 1:19 AM

    For all of you who chose to ignore facts;

    1) He won’t play this season
    2) His contract ends this when this season ends. He won’t be staying with NE. He will go to a team where he will be a starter. He may come back to NY, he may not. It will depend on whether there’s an opening for him in NY. He won’t be in NE.
    3) Mike Pope is the greatest TE coach in the NFL. Even opposing GMs admit that. I wish Ballard well, but let’s see how well he does without Pope working with him every day.
    4) Some of the same trolls and a large number of Raiders fans predicted the Giants doom when Oakland “stole” Boss away. How did that work for all parties involved? Giants got another ring and Boss fell flat in Oakland and now plays for a conference rival.
    5) Giants drafted Adrien Robinson. The guy has all the tools, but is raw. Just like Ballard was coming out of college. If Mike Pope can’t turn Robinson into a stud, no one can. My money is on Pope.

  32. badintent says: Jun 13, 2012 1:20 AM

    Cry me a river ! Grow up, man up, get it up and play with it. You Sourpuss grape Pats fans are pathetic ! Your “boy Genius” brings in a mental idiot that can’t read a playbook #85, features a TE that can’t run in the Super Bowl but dances like a rabbit on crack after the game, (Gronkistios) and does a personal TV doc on himself on NFL networks so Sapp and Deon have something to talk about. Give me a break, I’m busy cleaning our Lombardi hardware.Later , chicas.

  33. wesleyhuffstatler says: Jun 13, 2012 5:13 AM

    He is better than most TEs in the NFC, but they will never find out. Lol

  34. kingcarlbanks says: Jun 13, 2012 5:49 AM

    Giants TE usually catch between 30-40 balls a season. It wasn’t like Ballard was a linchpin of the Giants offense. We’ll miss him, but move on just like with Shockey and Boss. Next man up!

  35. torturedraiderfan says: Jun 13, 2012 6:55 AM

    So let me get this straight. Now that Pats have to waive Ballard and expose him to waivers or carry him on the 90-man roster even though he can’t play in 2012. If the Pats waive him, the Giants have to reclaim his contract. Who wins in this situation?

  36. njkid says: Jun 13, 2012 7:02 AM

    Ah it’s ok, call it Revenge but with our two Super Bowl rings VS the Pats Giants win, and with Pope one of the best Tight End coaches in the League no worries.

  37. weaponx73 says: Jun 13, 2012 7:04 AM

    Well the Pats finally got their revenge. Afterall they certainly werent going to get it on the football field since the Giants own them.

  38. bullcharger says: Jun 13, 2012 8:27 AM

    weaponx73 says:Jun 13, 2012 7:04 AM

    Well the Pats finally got their revenge. Afterall they certainly werent going to get it on the football field since the Giants own them.

    ————-

    Maybe so, but the Patriots won’t have to worry about them again for 3 years when they will meet in the regular season since the Giants won’t make the playoffs again.

  39. bullcharger says: Jun 13, 2012 8:31 AM

    torturedraiderfan says:Jun 13, 2012 6:55 AM

    So let me get this straight. Now that Pats have to waive Ballard and expose him to waivers or carry him on the 90-man roster even though he can’t play in 2012. If the Pats waive him, the Giants have to reclaim his contract. Who wins in this situation?

    —————-

    If the Patriots waive him after the roster cut down, no one may claim him (if the Giants waived him at 90, why would they claim him later) and the Patriots can put him on their reserve/PUP list.

  40. hooterdawg says: Jun 13, 2012 9:03 AM

    It’s always humorous to read Patsy fans consider any move Belichick makes as genius. They should be reminded that all Belichick’s ‘clever’ moves have resulted in zero rings since 2005. While he might feast upon weak schedules to run up bloated stats in the regular season, on the Big Stage – the postseason – his rosters are usually out-coached. There is little doubt that perrennial post season favorites Pats teams have been a disappointment in New England for many years.

  41. regisphilbin says: Jun 13, 2012 9:32 AM

    I remember Gene Smith getting ridiculed on this site for doing the same thing to the Browns with Don Juan. Now that Bill B. does it, its a genius move.

  42. homelanddefense says: Jun 13, 2012 9:55 AM

    easy there big guy, they have been to 2 superbowls in the past 5 years, its not like they cant win anything in the post season.

  43. jcrileyesq says: Jun 13, 2012 11:08 AM

    I guarantee you the same media and Giants fans that are crying abt this, are the same people that were calling for Jerry Reese’s head last off season- Reese knows what he is doing .. give the man some credit

  44. youdownwithjpp says: Jun 13, 2012 11:17 AM

    j0esixpack says:
    Jun 12, 2012 11:36 PM
    Arlen Specter must be getting ready to launch an investigation.

    The Giants waive Ballard because he’s injured and they don’t want to pay him. They apparently are the victims here… After all who doesn’t like an employer who retains your rights but doesn’t want to pay you?

    Belchick has the temerity to actually want to pay they guy a half a million to rehab, so, apparently he is the villain… Most people can’t stand employers like that anyways.

    If the Giants wanted to keep him all they had to do is what Belichick did. Pay the man.

    Seems to me 31 other teams and their fans may just be mad at Belichick because their GMs, including the Giants, was asleep at the switch.

    ——————————————–

    Giants would of still had to pay him his salary when he was on IR, so you’re argument is moot.

    The reason they waived him was so that they could get him on the IR and not have him take up space on the roster.

    But as someone previously mention the Giants appreciated what he did this past season but feel that they have the same value or better in their recent TE pickups.

    Whether Bill B. did this to “stick it” to the Giants I doubt it. How would you like to explain to your boss that your revenge move cost the company half a million.

    They see value in him, so they picked him up. The Giants didn’t see the value to the extent that the Pats did (in taking a roster spot).

    Not to mention that the TE was the least targeted position for the Giants last season and the most targeted for the Pats, but we all know how that turned out.

  45. rc33 says: Jun 13, 2012 11:32 AM

    east96st says: Jun 13, 2012 1:19 AM

    For all of you who chose to ignore facts;

    1) He won’t play this season
    2) His contract ends this when this season ends. He won’t be staying with NE.
    ———————————–
    Wrong.
    In the highly-likely event he doesn’t play this year he’ll be an exclusive rights free agent next off season, meaning all N.E. will have to do is offer him the veteran minimum. If he does play he’ll be a RFA at seasons end.

  46. j0esixpack says: Jun 13, 2012 11:34 AM

    armchairqb says: Anyone else think all this interest in TEs is a hint that Gronk’s ankle is a little more messed up than NE is letting on?

    ——————————

    And that’s why they just signed Gronk to a huge extension – when they were unsure of his ankle????

    No – this might have more to do with Hernandez contract negotiations, but not Gronk.

    And for those who note that he’s a free agent and will never play in N.E. – you’ve missed the point that he’s an exclusive rights free agent.

    Meaning the Pats can match any offer and keep him.

    He might or might not play this season but if Gronk or Hernandez suffers a new injury they’ve got a pretty good Plan B ready to go.

  47. jason49er says: Jun 13, 2012 11:48 AM

    Umm, doesn’t Ballard only have 2 accrued seasons in the NFL? 2010 and 2011. That’d make him a RESTRICTED free agent, which means NE could sign him to a cheap 1 year deal in 2013 or get compensation in return for him.

    The only problem is they can’t use the “original round” tender since he went undrafted…well they could but NYG would sign him right back.

    He can spend the year getting healthy and learning the NE offense in the meantime, insurance incase something happens to Gronk or Aaron.

    Brilliant move to be honest.

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