Why anyone would be surprised is beyond us, but rumor has it that the New York Giants and head coach Tom Coughlin are none too pleased with Bill Belichick plucking tight end Jake Ballard off the waiver wire. If Coughlin thought he’d get a pass, he could ask a member of Belichick’s current staff, Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels had a player he wanted to slide through waivers in 2010 while he was the head coach for the Denver Broncos. Josh Barrett who went down with a season ending injury, and when McDaniels tried to sneak him through waivers, Belichick swooped in and grabbed him. And he likes McDaniels.
In explaining the move, Belichick seemed miffed that he had to explain:
“First of all there are no unwrittens,” and to further his point, “you can’t negotiate a contract with a player while he’s under contract.”
He continued: “If a player is on waivers, he’s on waivers,” Belichick said bluntly. “Anytime you put a player on waivers, you know there are 31 teams that could take them.”
Again, it seems that the Giants are upset, probably because the Patriots have two of the top five NFL tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. There seems to be some sentiment that after two Super Bowl losses, Belichick is trying to get some payback. However, Ballard, who is a solid player, most likely will miss the entire 2012 season after having microfracture surgery on his knee.
If Ballard does miss the 2012 season, he would be an exclusive rights free agent in 2013, and wouldn't be eligible for free agency until 2015. Now, that's value Belichick couldn’t pass up, and with Aaron Hernandez scheduled to be a free agent prize in 2014, Ballard could be a cheaper alternative if Hernandez bolts for big cash.