Less than 24 hours later after the Giants placed him on waivers, Ballard was claimed by the New England Patriots, according to Michael David Smith of NBC's Pro Football Talk,
Ballard tore his ACL during Super Bowl XLVI and is recovering from microfracture surgery. The Giants wanted to see if Ballard could pass through waivers, then sign him and put him on the Injured Reserve for the 2012 season, but the Patriots saw an opportunity to scoop up the tight end.
The Patriots already have two high-end tight ends on their roster in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, so seeing them pick up Ballard is quite surprising.
Ballard will be a restricted free agent after the 2012 season. The only way they can keep him is if they give him a new deal for 2013, and Bill Belichick isn't one to keep players around if he doesn't need them.
Ballard, through his Twitter account, stated that he understood the business part of it and would love to come back to the Giants in 2013 when he was healthy.
With the Patriots claiming him off waivers, that might be a lot harder for Ballard to do now because he's now a member of New England and not New York.
What's going to be interesting to see is what the Patriots actually do with Ballard going forward since teams have to get their rosters down to 53 before the season.
But they can put him on the IR or the PUP List and see if they can sign him for 2013 if he is in fact healthy.
So, for the Giants, their attempt to put Ballard on waivers just to put him on IR just backfired in their faces. It looks like they have lost out on their 24-year-old tight end unless Ballard really wants to play for them in 2013 and comes back.
Otherwise, for New England, it's a good pickup if they can get Ballard back healthy, although again, this is a very strange move considering they have depth at the tight end position.