Some readers have been inquiring about the status of former Giant TE Jake Ballard (knee), who spent last season on IR with the New England Patriots. If you recall, he was scooped up last June off the waiver wire by Bill Belichick in what many felt was a subversive move.
The Giants tried to sneak Ballard – who was deemed medically ineligible to play on ’12 – through waivers with the intention of placing him on IR. Belichick, still bitter from his latest stinging loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl, claimed Ballard at the last minute although the Patriots already boasted the best TE corps in the league.
So, what is Ballard’s status right now? Can the Giants get him back?
Contrary to what you’ve heard or read, Ballard is not a free agent. He’s not even a restricted free agent. He’s an exclusive-rights free agent because only has two accrued seasons, not three. He has no option but to take what the Patriots’ offer him this spring.
The only way he can become available for another team to sign is if he does not receive an offer from the Patriots.
Don’t count on that happening. Ballard’s rehab has gone swimmingly. He is expected to be in training camp and compete for the Pats’ third TE spot this summer. By that time, the Giants will have their TE plans firmly in place.