New England Patriots Claim Jake Ballard: Can He Make the 53-Man Roster?

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJune 13, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 11:  Jake Ballard #85 of the New York Giants carries the ball against  Anthony Spencer #93 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Jake Ballard has just gone from one end of the spectrum to the other in just a matter of a day. 

The former Super Bowl XLVI winning New York Giant was waived Monday due to a failed physical and then was claimed off waivers by the Super Bowl XLVI losers, the New England Patriots, according to his agent Blake Baratz

Ballard suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in Super Bowl XLVI and underwent surgery back in February. The New York Daily News reports that the Giants planned on having Ballard clear waivers so that they could place him on the team's PUP (physically unable to perform) list to start the 2012 NFL season. 

Ballard is now a member of the Patriots and will earn $540,000 this upcoming season as his contract is set to expire in 2013 as a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old is currently listed on New England's 90-man roster—but will he make the team's 53-man roster?

If Ballard does prove that he's physically unable to perform, then the Patriots would be forced to either release him or waive him and hope that he clears waivers and then place him on the PUP list—but that would likely end up having the Giants re-claim him. 

What New England likely plans on doing is bringing him into town, working him out and see if he can be active once the final roster cut-down to 53 players comes around on September 2—but there is speculation that he wont be ready to play until mid-season. 

If Ballard proves to be healthy, I certainly believe that he will make New England's final roster as a blocking tight end and could also be used as a receiver, if necessary—as he did record 38 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. 

After all, the Patriots were interested in tight end Dallas Clark, as they brought him in for a workout, but he ultimately signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What Ballard could bring to the table is depth behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and could bring some competition with New England's other tight end—who was signed this offseason and projects a blocking tight end—Daniel Fells. 


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