TEMPE, Ariz. – Free agent tight end Jake Ballard was in Arizona for a tryout last week, according to an NFL source.
The Arizona Cardinals didn’t sign the three-year pro because of concerns about his ability to endure the rest of the season.
Ballard’s addition would have given the Cardinals another option as a featured tight end, most likely moving Rob Housler to the secondary role. In his rookie season, Ballard had 604 yards. Heading into this season, Housler had 618.
Coaches have been waiting for Housler to live up to the expectations levied on him during the offseason, when head coach Bruce Arians talked about the tight ends being a primary piece of his offense. But Housler has struggled with his timing and getting on the same page as quarterback Carson Palmer. However, Housler, who missed the first two games of the season with an ankle injury, made strides Thursday against Seattle with seven catches for 53 yards.
If the Cardinals had signed Ballard, it’s likely Jim Dray would have been relegated to the bench.