Cardinals sign TE Jake Ballard

Jim Rogash

The Cardinals have signed Jake Ballard to help pad the depth chart at tight end behind Jim Dray and Rob Housler.

The Arizona Cardinals signed tight end Jake Ballard on Monday, the team announced via Twitter. Ballard was a free agent after being released by the New England Patriots at the end of preseason. To make room for Ballard, the team released D.C. Jefferson, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft as a tight end out of Rutgers.

Ballard has not caught a regular season pass since 2011, when he had a breakout year for the New York Giants. After catching 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season, he suffered a torn ACL during the Giants' Super Bowl win over the Pats.

The Giants placed Ballard on waivers in 2012 assuming he would clear and rejoin the team, but the Patriots swooped in and signed the tight end. He was projected by some to make a big impact in 2013 in place of an injured Rob Gronkowski, but he was no longer on the roster by the season opener.

Whether Ballard makes an impact in Arizona remains to be seen. Rob Housler and Jim Dray are currently the top two tight ends on the roster, and have a combined 26 receptions between them through eight games.

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