Patriots Land TE Ballard After Giants Roster Move Backfires

(AP)

An interesting bit of roster manuevering by the New York Giants and New England Patriots took place yesterday. 

The New York Giants released Jake Ballard, a tight end who emerged as a receiving threat last year before tearing his ACL against the Patriots in the Super Bowl.  Ballard is expected to miss the 2012-13 season as he recovers from his injury.

Rather than have Ballard occupy spot on their 90-man roster, the Giants waived him, presumably with the thinking  that no team would claim a player who could not play this season.  Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston.com explains the rules underlying the move:

When the New York Giants waived/failed physical tight end Jake Ballard on Monday, they did so with the likely intention of placing him on the Reserve/Physically Unable Perform list as soon as he claimed waivers, which would have moved Ballard off their 90-man roster.

The Patriots, however, claimed Ballard.  Rodak also explains how the Patriots will likley handle his roster status:

Going forward, the most likely option for the Patriots appears to be to keep Ballard on their active roster, placing him on the Active/PUP list at the start of training camp. At the final roster cut-down to 53 players, Ballard would then be placed on Reserve/PUP, keeping him out for at least the first six weeks of the season, and allowing him to return to the active roster as late as Week 13.

ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk quoted a Tweet from Ballard’s agent, Blake Baratz:

“As I stated yesterday a ‘smart’ football organization might claim @NYG_J_Ballard85 while he’s hurt to own his rights,” Baratz tweeted. “He’s now a Patriot!”

Although Ballard only has one year remaining on his contract, he will be an exclusive rights free agent in 2013, meaning that the Patriots only need to tender a minimun contract to retain his rights.

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