We learned during the offseason that waiving an injured player for the purposes of stashing him on injured reserve isn’t without its risks.
The Giants lost tight end Jake Ballard to a waiver claim by the Patriots, who have placed Ballard on their physically-unable-to-perform list and will likely move him from there to injured reserve down the road. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was upset about the loss, which was avoidable if the Giants chose to hold a spot on their 90-man roster for a starting player who wasn’t going to play in 2012.
So the Colts took a bit of a risk by placing offensive lineman Ben Ijalana on waivers after a torn ACL this week knocked him out for the season. Ijalana was a second-round pick in 2011 and considered by some to be first-round material in the days leading up to the draft. It’s possible there’s still a team out there that’s willing to spend a little less than $560,000 for the chance to see where Ijalana stands heading into next season when his contract isn’t guaranteed.
There are differences from the Ballard situation. This is the second straight year with an ACL tear, not to mention offseason hip surgery, for Ijalana, which is going to make it very difficult for him to return as the player he was before the injuries. That may mean that the Colts, unlike the Giants with Ballard, don’t mind if Ijalana becomes property of another team. If they do want to keep Ijalana, they may wind up second-guessing the decision to use a roster spot on tackle Ty Nsekhe, an Arena League veteran, instead of waiting until it was safe to move Ijalana to injured reserve.