TE swap: Jake Ballard in, D.C. Jefferson out

Posted by Darren Urban on November 4, 2013 – 11:55 am

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.


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Posted in Blog | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “TE swap: Jake Ballard in, D.C. Jefferson out”

  1. By george on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    good now we know what we need to do next year ink rob gronk an jimmy g to like 5 year deals each then well be set for a superbowl run

  2. By hummer53 on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Ouch. That tattoo is going to be painful and costly to take off.

  3. By LadyBird04 on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Jefferson obviously wanted to “be the guy”. I’m sure the DUI was the final straw that made the decision easier.

  4. By Jason on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Interesting. I kept wondering when Jefferson was gonna get more of a look, but looks like he just wasn’t ready. So with our emerging run game, and now a possibly bigger threat in the middle of the field to help open up the outsides, that might be a very good move. Depends on HOW healthy he is and if it was a flash in the pan or if this guy is for real.

  5. By georgiebird on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    The Giants use their TE better than any team in football. Eli has made a star out of 4 or 5 TEs since he’s been there. It will be tough for Ballard to repeat his stats.
    The Cards have not had a TE really shine since the days of Jay Novacek and Robert Awalt – and both those guys went on to bigger and better things when they left the Cardinals.
    Have I missed another Cardinals’ TE who had a few productive seasonsl since the mid 70s?

  6. By LG on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    D.C. had good size but he could not catch good luck to him. i got the cardinal tattoo on me too but i ain’t going no where BIRDGANG FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. By kauaicardsfan on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    I like the fact that GM Kiem is still making moves to better this team!
    In the past we would miss a lot of good players that could have have an immediate impact on the team. I like the new aggressive approach, if you don’t cut it than you will be cut !!!

  8. By ored on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    now we know why dc has’nt been playing and ballard could be real interesting,every time we’ve had a te with proven skills,he’s been injury prone or one foot in retirement,here’s hoping the acl healed good and he just takes off from there,now maybe palmer finds his comfort zone.

    appears philly found their qb,jury still out on texas,after big lead they could’nt close the deal but at least one more team won’t be looking qb early=more for us to choose from,now if ballard returns to form,we concentrate on LT and QB as areas of biggest need,cooper comes back and we have a real ground game,refine our speed recievers,a dependable te,and larry and floyd can be our td tandem

    we knew from the beginning we needed speed recievers to spread the field,a TE for 3rd down conversions,a sproles type back and a solid running game ,we tryed to do those in house,but only ellington and stepfan look to have answered,but if the free agents we signed develop and come thru,then we’re knocking on the door with only a LT and a future QB to “be a great team”,hope it works,that could mean a new strategy come draft day,at the very least it would give keim new and different options,just love the fact we’re not afraid of mixing ti up a little to try something if we could just find that minny/dallas type trade of h.walker,would even be interested in the haul the rams got.

    wonder if keim is second guessing himself for not drafting glennon,he’s looking good and also has school ties with keim and really is the downfield passer that ba likes,or foles from the eagles,i think he was trade bait early on.

  9. By mal on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Did Ballard practice today? Any first team reps?

  10. By Darren Urban on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Ballard

    He has not yet gotten to Arizona.

  11. By clssylssy on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Sorry to lose Kerry Taylor to the Jags, but I guess he is getting his foot in the door of the NFL and they could offer him a job when the Cards wouldn’t…hope that doesn’t come back to bite us but if it does, oh well. I’m sure Jefferson will get picked up and also have a career elsewhere like so many of our other players. Glad to get a TE at last but, it would be nice to get a healthy, name player for once instead of one broken and with a questionable future. I feel like if he were worth much the Giants would have kept him considering the shape they’ve been in this year so far. I hope that our bye hasn’t cost us the momentum we had going with the Falcons and am a little concerned about complacency and being a little too comfortable playing at home this week. The Texans, while plagued with injuries early on are a stronger team that the Falcons, as they showed last Sunday nearly beating the Colts. I am sure that many of the players were a little preoccupied with Coach Kubiak’s health and they will probably be out to win this one against the Cards for him in his absence.
    I can’t believe the Cards would bid for the Superbowl and then decide not to have it in Glendale where the stadium is. The information and details have been sketchy but to have it in Phoenix(where pre tell?) when we’ve already successfully hosted one SB seems REALLY BAD PLANNING and will come back on the Cards Owner and management . I am anxiously awaiting an article addressing this situation. I am a west valley resident and if this is a political issue, we voters need to know so we can let our elected representatives feel our displeasure! Hope the Cards are practicing again today in pads like they did before the Falcons game, that seems to have made a difference, helps get their head in the game and feels more serious!

  12. By infitzwetrust on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    A six round pick gone in Ryan Swope, then now a wasted 7th… If I remember correctly that 6th rounder came from trading away Aj Jefferson… So its like we gave a player away for free…. Oh well

  13. By Mark Moreno on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Very good move by the Card’s….So wats uo with Brittan Golden does he have a good chance playing this sunday?

  14. By NJAzCardsFan on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Darren- Do the Cards get any compensation picks when they lose a player off of the practice squad?

    I know that when a player is picked off of another teams PS they must immediately put them on the active roster for the whole season.

  15. By Darren Urban on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: Comp picks/PS


  16. By cardsalltheway on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    Almost anything is better than the sorry excuses we’ve had. All the TE experience of a coach we had last time sure didn’t leave us with much aye?

    Rob Housler – Zero(0) TD’s, 33 Games played, 71 Receptions, 685 Yards, 2 Fumbles in 3 years.
    Rob Housler caught just one pass for 14 yards in Sunday’s Week 8 win over the Falcons. He’s due – $755(plus possible workout bonus) thousand dollars in 2014.

  17. By jasonc on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply


    Where do you get your football knowledge? What “4 or 5 TEs” did Eli exactly make a star? No TE that Eli has thrown the ball to since he’s been in the league has had over 70 receptions, 900 yard or 7 TD’s. Not disrespectable numbers….but stars? Jeremy Shockey was the only TE that you might consider a star and he put up the best numbers averaging 62-700-6 the first four years of Eli’s career, but since then he has thrown the the ball to Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard and Marcelus Bennet at an average of 40-562-5. Again, these aren’t what I would call star numbers nor would I say that anyone is signing any of the players we mentioned to big dollar free agent deals.

  18. By ored on Nov 4, 2013 | Reply

    so we lose an elite LT,a reciever that subbed for fitz,and a TE with a red bird tattoo,and recieve nothing in return…ok keim,you better hit it out of the park next draft,we want impact,probowl caliber players that are injury proof,on your mark…start your legacy.

  19. By djiigo on Nov 5, 2013 | Reply

    Ored… who is this elite LT you speak of? What does a tattoo do to make a player better?

  20. By ored on Nov 5, 2013 | Reply


  21. By ored on Nov 5, 2013 | Reply

    next draft projected to be strong on o-line,db,wr,and qb if some underclassmen (johnny football)come out-we could use help from each section,if next draft goes like last one along with a few lessons learned,it will be exciting times again.

    just thinking of injured players returning,further developing this years rookies,rotating of free agents,and a new crop of rookies,then watching keim pull rabbits out of a hat…it’s all good.

  22. By MikeC on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    Good pick-up on Ballard! Now lets get Jonathon Martin.

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