The Cardinals agreed to terms today with tight end Jake Ballard, who is coming off a torn ACL but in 2011 had a very good season with the Giants with 38 catches for 604 yards — a gaudy 15.9-yard average, especially for a tight end — and won a Super Bowl. To make room, the Cards cut seventh-round tight end D.C. Jefferson, who was an interesting story and even tattooed a Cardinal on his stomach before he made the team. But he also struggled quite a bit with a transition to the NFL game. Kent Somers reported he was arrested for a DUI Friday night, which I’m sure didn’t help his cause either. UPDATE: Arians said the decision to release Jefferson for Ballard had come before Jefferson’s arrest and did not play a factor.
If Ballard is healthy, he could be a real find, although the Cards only signed him through the end of the season, so this will be a trial run of sorts. Ballard’s story has had some interesting twists. He was playing on the ACL tear in the Super Bowl when it finally gave out on him, so his celebration of a win over New England was tempered by his knee problems (pictured below). He was going to spend 2012 on IR for the Giants but, through a quirk in the rules, was exposed to waivers and the Patriots claimed him. He then was on the physically-unable-to-perform list all last season before the Patriots cut him at the end of preseason this season.
The Cardinals need better tight end production. Ballard was in for a tryout a couple of weeks ago and apparently the Cards liked what they saw (and might have been ready to move on from Jefferson, too.) We’ll see how quickly he can get integrated into the scheme, but the Cardinals have not had the play from tight end position overall that they wanted or needed this season.
— In one other player move, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who play the Cards in two weeks, signed wide receiver Kerry Taylor off the Cards’ practice squad today and put him on their active roster.
Tags: D.C. Jefferson, Jake Ballard
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