The New England Patriots claimed injured tight end Jake Ballard off waivers Tuesday after he was waived by the New York Giants. The Patriots also placed rookie tight end Brad Herman on injured reserve.
Despite five other rostered tight ends, including Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots saw enough value in Ballard to add a sixth tight end to the squad.
Ballard tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and was let go by the Giants for failing a team physical. He had actually returned to the team’s facilities today thinking that he had cleared waivers.
But the Patriots surprised Ballard, and the rest of the league, by claiming the talented tight end. Ballard has had success against the Patriots in the past, and he presented enough value for Bill Belichick to take a flier on him.
This is a low-risk, smart move for the Patriots. Ballard is not going to be physically ready to play at the start of the season, and Hernandez and Gronkowski sit ahead of him on the depth chart anyways, but Ballard is only 24 years old. With the Patriots spending big money on Gronkowski, they may opt to be frugal with Hernandez’ contract when the times comes. If that’s the case, Ballard is a nice insurance option.
In any case, the Patriots are getting value with this move. And given their track record, that should come as no surprise to anyone.