Bill Belichick's quest to take over the world with an army of tight ends has cost the New York Giants Jake Ballard. The Giants waived Ballard, who tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, on Monday thinking he'd clear waivers and they'd be able to sign him right back and put him on injured reserve because he was probably going to miss the season anyway. They told him he was in their plans for 2013, and as far as they knew, he was.
But Ballard did not clear waivers. He was claimed by the Patriots, who likely will be able to retain him next year as an exclusive rights free agent if he gets healthy in the meantime. The Patriots now have five tight ends on their roster, including star starters Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and obviously did not have a need at the position.
Ballard did play very well against the Patriots in the Giants' regular-season victory over them last year, and he was part of the Giants team that defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And it's clear that Belichick thinks tight ends are the wave of the future. I'm working on confirming a report that his new house in Farmington will be built entirely out of tight ends.
For 2012, this leaves the Giants no worse off than they already were at tight end. They have Martellus Bennett and Bear Pascoe and possibly Travis Beckum at some point, though he also tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and isn't likely to be ready to start the season if he can make it back at all in 2012.