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Patriots claim Jake Ballard off waivers from Giants

Tracy White, Jake Ballard AP

One problem with the Giants’ plan to place injured tight end Jake Ballard on waivers and then put him on injured reserve and get him ready for 2013: It doesn’t work if another team claims him. And that’s exactly what happened today.

The Patriots, against whom Ballard was injured in the Super Bowl, have claimed Ballard. He is now a New England Patriot — even though, according to reporters on the scene, he’s actually in attendance at the Giants’ minicamp today.

Ballard, who had microfracture surgery in April, probably won’t play at all this season, and he becomes a free agent after this season, which means the Patriots would only get him in 2013 if they can sign him to a new deal. And they have to count him toward their 90-man roster limit right now. So at first blush, it would seem that the Patriots just grabbed a player who can’t play for them anyway.

Then again, Ballard’s base salary is only $540,000, so it’s not particularly expensive to keep him around and see if he recovers more quickly than expected. And the Patriots can put him on either the physically unable to perform list or injured reserve before the regular season starts, and having him on the roster now means they have first crack at getting him to sign a new contract for 2013 and beyond. Ballard becomes an exclusive rights free agent after the season, so if the Patriots want him, they can have him without any other team getting a chance to sign him.

So the Patriots just acquired a talented 24-year-old player and did so at a low price. A surprising deal, but not a bad deal.

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61 Responses to “Patriots claim Jake Ballard off waivers from Giants”
  1. tank732 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:11 PM

    Wow such an unnecessary move by the Patriots.

  2. maximusprime107 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:13 PM

    Claimed him just to spite the Giants lol
    He’ll never see the field for NE even when he’s healthy

  3. lbouchard1 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:13 PM

    Did it for info on the Giants.

  4. redpoop says: Jun 12, 2012 5:15 PM

    Would this be a bad deal if the Dolphins, Browns or Vikings made it?

  5. kcfanatic says: Jun 12, 2012 5:17 PM

    Always thinking outside the box. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. You can not deny that Coach B. is an innovator.

  6. sicklife1 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:19 PM

    Good luck Jake, but this is a weird move for the Pats if you ask me. Ballard was supposed to be a blocking TE, but wasn’t a very good blocker & turned in to a pretty decent catching option for Eli. I just don’t see where he fits in with the Pats if he can’t block, but, maybe they’re thinking that Hernandez is going to be too expensive for them down the road? Who knows….hope Ballard does well though.

  7. mark0226 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:20 PM

    Because clearly, the Patriots need more Tight Ends.

  8. drakej541 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:22 PM

    Who else thinks the Patriots did this just to spite the Giants????

  9. blacknole08 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:23 PM

    Well, if you beat them 2x, join them.

  10. bigbluecrew420 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:26 PM

    Kcfanatic

    Always thinking outside the box. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. You can not deny that Coach B. is an innovator.

    —————————————————

    Yup.
    First coach to get fined $500,000 for recording the other teams practices.
    A real trend setter 

  11. sportsreporterusa says: Jun 12, 2012 5:27 PM

    Brilliant move. He will be IR’ed. He can share information on the Giants. Low cost. Have him ready for the 2013 season.

    Can’t lose move since the roster is at 90 right now.

  12. playin2x says: Jun 12, 2012 5:31 PM

    Can’t beat em … Steal from them … Lol .. Guess the pats are going to steal playbook info from him

  13. smartanis says: Jun 12, 2012 5:32 PM

    Jaguars did the same thing a few years back, claiming DB Don Carey when the Browns waived/injured him. In return, they got the worst starting safety in the history of the NFL.

    Here’s hoping it works out a little better for the Pats.

  14. nbaraie says: Jun 12, 2012 5:34 PM

    Gronkowski got a huge payday, and now they take Ballard.

    Wonder whats going through Aaron Hernandez’s head right now.

  15. saintsfan26 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:35 PM

    Pats just found Hernandez replacement

  16. source7769 says: Jun 12, 2012 5:36 PM

    come on people how do you think they always have multiple early round picks , they trade guys every year so now they have an extra tight end to deal which ever one it is who knows but one is getting traded by years end

  17. tedmurph says: Jun 12, 2012 5:37 PM

    As with signing a RFA to an offer sheet, this is considered dirty pool. Would understand it more if it was a position of need, then maybe you could say it’s just business. Don’t get it, the guy wants to play for the Giants.

  18. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 12, 2012 5:37 PM

    This is exactly what Brad Childress did to the Patriots that got Belichick so mad at him. Watch for the Giants to put another beatdown on the Patriots next time they play.

  19. derfshambeaux says: Jun 12, 2012 5:38 PM

    “What the hell’s going on out there?”

    Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Bo Scaife, Daniel Fells, two other guys and now Jake Ballard? Everyone’s going to give Belichick the benefit of the doubt on this one, but how have his more recent outside-the-box free agent signings work out? Two that come to mind are Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco…

  20. seageo says: Jun 12, 2012 5:39 PM

    The patriots are in a different conference and dont play the Giants next year…….Why would they need playbook info??? Only way to play them again is the Superbowl and playbook wil be different especially with no Manningham, Jacobs, and new tightends….

  21. kylecleric says: Jun 12, 2012 5:40 PM

    Who said in the comments section that he’d make this decision for the Pats if he could? This guy. Love the move, BB. Ballard, Hernandez, and Gronk, that’s stacked. If we’d do this to get the rights to Josh Barrett a couple of years ago, it makes so much sense to grab a TE this talented.

  22. briang123 says: Jun 12, 2012 6:18 PM

    All that information he will have on the Giants will be useful when they play them again in 2016.

  23. mornelithe says: Jun 12, 2012 6:26 PM

    Bo Scaife = Couldn’t get through OTA workouts
    Daniel Fells = Been missing from practices, possible injury
    Herman = Achilles Tear

    The Pats are obviously looking to have 3 TE’s on the roster. The current bunch they have in-house (Gronk and Hernandez excluded), aren’t cutting it. So, they’re bringing in extra. Ballard may be injured now, but he’s not a rookie, and can catch. So, it seems like an intelligent move for the Pats.

  24. axltcu says: Jun 12, 2012 6:44 PM

    The Giants had to have known any team, especially the Pats, might take him when they made the decision to waive him. They’re probably disappointed but they knew it was a possibility when they did it. I bet the Pats weren’t the only ones looking at him either.

  25. paychrisjohnson28 says: Jun 12, 2012 6:45 PM

    The Patriots obviously love their tight ends…there is no such thing as too many to them…

  26. paul82461 says: Jun 12, 2012 6:46 PM

    Since the Raiders are looking for a TE , not that it would happen but Hernandez would be a nice addition for McKenzie to make a play for.

  27. EJ says: Jun 12, 2012 6:56 PM

    Smart move by Belichick and the Patriots. Ballard is one of the top 5 TE’s in the league. Even waiting a year, this waiver claim could pay off big time in the end. I was kinda hoping Buffalo’s Chan Gailey would pick Ballard off first, too bad.

  28. norwegianwud says: Jun 12, 2012 7:00 PM

    He scored and made some big plays for NY. Pats are fishing for something good and cheap to bolster TE position. Best guy might not be the guy they keep to stay cap friendly. They’ll bring ‘em in and send ‘em out when they look at talent vs. budget. It’s a business. I’m sure all teams see it that way. Pats seem to do it like top tier Fortune 500. I hate that! But I have to hand it to them. They rarely make mistakes.

  29. jjbadd says: Jun 12, 2012 7:06 PM

    This is not a spiteful move by the Pats at all. It’s precisely why Belichek is the great coach he is…think a season ahead..not a bad move, because I think one of the Pats TE becomes a FA after this season, this gives them options & leverage.

  30. nygdriveforfive says: Jun 12, 2012 8:07 PM

    Very sad to see Ballard go put I have to think the Giants medical staff knows best. No way the Giants release him if medical staff see anything else but a career threating knee injury. Wish him all the best but this of course reminds me of Steve Smith.

  31. sschmiggles says: Jun 12, 2012 8:11 PM

    1) Belichick wouldn’t do this to “spite” the Giants. Anyone who’s followed his career knows how he feels about the people in that organization, specifically Coughlin and the Maras. There’s a reason the Patriots and Giants play each other every year in the pre-season.

    2) Belichick doesn’t need “info” on the Giants. Like I just said… they play each other every preseason, and they played three games last year.

    3) The Patriots run a tight end-based offense. If Ballard winds up recovering earlier than expected, then they landed an excellent backup for basically nothing. The Super Bowl proved how important having a 3rd or even 4th TE who can catch is for this team.

    4) How does this even hurt the Giants? He was hitting free agency either way.

    Amazing how quickly people will abandon reason to reinforce their personal opinion of someone.

  32. roadtrip3500 says: Jun 12, 2012 8:30 PM

    Information from Ballard on the Giants?

    Pats play the Giants in the final pre-season game – when no starters play more than 5 minutes and no one reveals the playbook. The two teams don’t play each other in the regular season until 2015. So unless there’s going to be Round 3 in Super Bowl 47, information on the Giants is of no use to the Pats any time soon.

  33. frankdatank23 says: Jun 12, 2012 8:32 PM

    Brady will never have to throw a pass more than 15 yards ever again ! They’re going to have TE’s and backs all over the place. You’ll need excellent coverage backers and some physical DB’s to stop them.

  34. drekomp says: Jun 12, 2012 8:36 PM

    So PFT lets some idiot post

    EJ says:
    Jun 12, 2012 6:56 PM
    Smart move by Belichick and the Patriots. Ballard is one of the top 5 TE’s in the league…
    ——————–
    Ballard a top 5 TE. Yeah. Okay…

    I try to make a joke about the Pats serving a life sentence with the amount of tight ends they pounce on and that doesn’t get approval. That’s not incredibly offensive, it’s hilarious.

    Lighten up, sensor douche.

  35. 23tarheel23 says: Jun 12, 2012 8:40 PM

    Gangsta

  36. bigpara says: Jun 12, 2012 8:47 PM

    Pats are a bunch of bums signing the TE Ballard, Pats are so scare of the Giants.

  37. bikelikemike says: Jun 12, 2012 8:50 PM

    Good Lord! I see some silly comments here! I imagine the Pats saw what I did in Ballard; the guy was a damn fine pass receiver- pretty good hands and good play after the catch/ hard to throw down! = Very reliable when you need a catch! He burned us in the regular season! I don’t think Hernandez is easily replaced, nor do I think the Pats want him going anywhere. But as it’s a business, his agent may not cooperate when the time comes! If he stays w/ us it would be great if we had all three high-end tight-ends! Ballard is young and shows the talent to be special- especially w/ tutelage from the Pats org!

  38. 2hi2cu says: Jun 12, 2012 8:59 PM

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

  39. ygkr85 says: Jun 12, 2012 9:11 PM

    1.) Ballard is really hurt right now, hope the Pats docs get him right for his sake.
    2.) Ballard was slow last year and will be slower
    3.) Lot of heart, wish him the best but the GMen have a new starter and new young guy to work in with Bear

  40. jfolland says: Jun 12, 2012 9:16 PM

    BB still a little salty about that SB? Haha

  41. chrisjohnston10 says: Jun 12, 2012 9:22 PM

    derfshambeaux says:
    Jun 12, 2012 5:38 PM
    “What the hell’s going on out there?”

    Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Bo Scaife, Daniel Fells, two other guys and now Jake Ballard? Everyone’s going to give Belichick the benefit of the doubt on this one, but how have his more recent outside-the-box free agent signings work out? Two that come to mind are Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco…
    —————————————-
    It’s funny that you think you know what you’re talking about. If you knew what you were talking about, you would know that Albert and Chad weren’t free agent signings.

  42. j0esixpack says: Jun 12, 2012 9:31 PM

    tank732 says: Wow such an unnecessary move by the Patriots
    ——————————————-

    Did you not read the article?

    “Ballard becomes an exclusive rights free agent after the season, so if the Patriots want him, they can have him without any other team getting a chance to sign him. So the Patriots just acquired a talented 24-year-old player and did so at a low price. A surprising deal, but not a bad deal.”

  43. pftcensorssuck says: Jun 12, 2012 9:34 PM

    bigbluecrew420 says:Jun 12, 2012 5:26 PM
    Yup.
    First coach to get fined $500,000 for recording the other teams practices.
    A real trend setter
    ———————————————————
    Another dimwit who doesn’t realize that the Patriots were never charged, let alone punished, for taping a single practice.

    Look up “Spygate”, moron; they were fined for illegal placement of a camera during a GAME.

  44. ytsejamer1 says: Jun 12, 2012 9:39 PM

    sschmiggles – i do agree with everything you said. Well put.

    However…

    Coughlin and the Giants have to be absolutely steamed. There’s a reason no one else picked him up off waivers…the other teams were extending a courtesy. I’m a die hard Pats fan and when I heard this, the first thing I thought of was, “that’s low…Giants are going to be pissed”.

    Not that any of my thoughts matter on anything, but still, it’s a low-brow move…one that BB himself hated having done to him a few years back by Chilly regarding Garrett Mills or whatever his name was.

  45. siaaa says: Jun 12, 2012 9:43 PM

    all these TEs and no real big game recievers with the best down field qb in the game is simply stupid. did BB forget the pats domination (except for the super bowl) when Moss was at his best..
    the game has simply passed him by. he can go to the super bowl every year and not win again. I remember watching him a couple of years ago when he played the jets in playoffs and got beat at home. he got out coached by Rex. thats pretty bad and a sign that its time to quit. the way his team played and the lame plays he was calling in the fourth while trailing was pretty dumb. there was no sign of genius any where.

  46. omnipotentcrab says: Jun 12, 2012 9:54 PM

    I think it’s a good move, Ballard when healthy is clearly an upgrade over their 3rd tight end spot and could be used in their 3 TE package or even in a 3 WR 2 TE package with Hernandez split out wide. Don’t see what all the commotion is about they’ll put him on IR this year and then have him as an exclusive rights FA next year. It’s not Belicheck’s fault its the Giants for exposing him to waivers.

  47. jerrycola says: Jun 12, 2012 10:16 PM

    Bill Bellichick figures it is better to get inside information on a team he has lost to in 3 out of the 4 times they played from an ex-player rather then any kind of advanced video taping since that doesn’t seem to work.

  48. reggiebush25 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:23 PM

    Ballard runs like a duck. Belicheat is overrated. He will not give Welker a long term contract.

  49. quirtevans says: Jun 12, 2012 10:23 PM

    The real issue is that the Giants are tight against the cap. They needed to sign Rocky Bernard, and they needed to create roster space and cap room to do it. So they rolled the dice on waiving Ballard.

    The Pats will have to pay Ballard’s salary this year, but that’s a cheap option to see how his recovery works out. He’s a Belichick-type player … very smart, hard worker.

    I liked Ballard, but the Giants don’t put the same priority on the tight end position as other teams do, and they have faith that their tight ends coach, Mike Pope, can coach up a new youngster. He did it with Kevin Boss, he did it with Ballard, and now he’ll try his magic with the kid from Cincinnati, Adrien Robinson. If Robinson works out, the Giants will be set at tight end anyway. He’s a lot faster and more athletic than Ballard.

  50. trubroncfan07 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:30 PM

    sschmiggles is seriously drinking the cool aid.

  51. nflofficeadmin says: Jun 12, 2012 11:08 PM

    Questionable move. Ballard is not the type of TE that fits into NE system. Just a angry move by NE. I guess they are still bitter. The team hasn’t moved on the way it’s owner seems to have done…Zing!!

  52. mornelithe says: Jun 13, 2012 12:21 AM

    siaaa says:
    Jun 12, 2012 9:43 PM
    all these TEs and no real big game recievers with the best down field qb in the game is simply stupid. did BB forget the pats domination (except for the super bowl) when Moss was at his best..
    the game has simply passed him by. he can go to the super bowl every year and not win again. I remember watching him a couple of years ago when he played the jets in playoffs and got beat at home. he got out coached by Rex. thats pretty bad and a sign that its time to quit. the way his team played and the lame plays he was calling in the fourth while trailing was pretty dumb. there was no sign of genius any where.

    =================================

    They signed Lloyd for deep threat. So, they’ve addressed that need already.

  53. lucky5934 says: Jun 13, 2012 12:22 AM

    I guess the new saying goes… If you can’t beat em, claim em off waivers.

  54. bigbluecrew420 says: Jun 13, 2012 12:29 AM

    pftcencorssuck spewed….

    bigbluecrew420 says:Jun 12, 2012 5:26 PM
    Yup.
    First coach to get fined $500,000 for recording the other teams practices.
    A real trend setter
    ———————————————————
    Another dimwit who doesn’t realize that the Patriots were never charged, let alone punished, for taping a single practice.

    Look up “Spygate”, moron; they were fined for illegal placement of a camera during a GAME.

    ================================

    Still fined 500K for cheating who cares exactly how he did it.

    You seem a lil bitter about that whole ruining your 19-0 season or maybe your angry about the last time Eli crushed your dreams a few months ago. Either way your way too angry. 

  55. bbk1000 says: Jun 13, 2012 6:32 AM

    Belichick must be losing his mind….this guy loves to make over the top moves like this. I assume he envisions himself as a genius or some sort of mad scientist….

    A silly move…

  56. nflofficeadmin says: Jun 13, 2012 7:59 AM

    C’mon Pats fans, are you telling me the owner, Mr. Kraft, hasn’t moved on yet… did you see who he was with at the Celtics game.

  57. zaggs says: Jun 13, 2012 8:17 AM

    So why wouldn’t the Patriots have to put Ballard through waivers to move him to their PUP list?
    But just another classless move by a classless organization.

  58. thegronk87 says: Jun 13, 2012 8:43 AM

    jake ballard is pretty good but the mvps of the giants are:

    1. david tyree
    2. kyle williams
    3. bernard pollard
    4. wes welker

  59. rockthered1286 says: Jun 13, 2012 9:07 AM

    EJ says:
    Smart move by Belichick and the Patriots. Ballard is one of the top 5 TE’s in the league.
    ___________________________
    Gronk, Graham,Vernon Davis, Fred Davis, Finley,Witten, Gates, Hernandez, Gresham, Owen Daniels, Ed Dickson, Brent Celek, Dustin Keller… THEN Ballard. Maybe.

    Reg. Season 2011-12
    Ballard
    38 catches, 604 yds, 4 TD’s

    Greg Olsen (CAR)
    45 catches, 540 yds, 5 TD’s

    There’s your equal.

  60. bigbluecrew420 says: Jun 13, 2012 9:47 AM

    Thegronk87

    jake ballard is pretty good but the mvps of the giants are:

    1. david tyree
    2. kyle williams
    3. bernard pollard
    4. wes welker

    ================================

    Hmmmmm

    I thought Eli Manning was the MVP of the last 2 superbowls.

    You seem bitter. Maybe you should hangout with pftcencorssuck and you guys can have a good cry together 

  61. nepatriots83 says: Jun 13, 2012 1:02 PM

    Belichick loves trolling other franchises and coaches in the NFL.

    I can just picture him sitting in his office laughing as he put in the claim, “I don’t need him but i can’t wait to see Coughlins face”

    Thats for the Superbowl Tom.

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