Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham’s separation from the New England Patriots appears to have been short-lived. Both quarterbacks are set to return to the team’s practice squad, just one day after they were waived during roster cuts, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday.
NFL teams were required to reduced their rosters to 53 players by Tuesday afternoon. The move to release Zappe and Cunningham left the Patriots’ active roster with third-year quarterback Mac Jones.
Both of the signal callers cleared waivers and look to be headed back to Foxborough.
Zappe had action in four games last year with New England, starting for two games in place of an injured Jones. He was the 2022 fourth round draft out of Western Kentucky.
Cunningham went undrafted after this year’s draft out of Louisville.
PATRIOTS’ MALIK CUNNINGHAM WILL PLAY ANYWHERE AFTER DAZZLING PRESEASON: ‘IT’S A BLESSING JUST TO BE HERE’
New England could still look to add other players to the quarterback room, according to ESPN. In the meantime, Zappe will likely back up Jones on game days.
Before the Patriots decided on what players would be on the 53-man roster, coach Bill Belichick said the team would continue to make adjustments to its roster over the next several days.
“I would caution you against thinking things are over when they’re not necessarily over on a lot of levels,” he said. “Some players that we release will come back and play for us, be on the practice squad. We don’t know exactly what they’ll be, but we have a general idea.”
Following a solid rookie performance in 2021 and a trip to the playoffs, Jones struggled last season. He appeared in 14 games and threw 14 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Belichick made an unconventional decision by declining to name an official offensive coordinator last year. Instead, longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia largely handled the offensive side of the ball and worked as a senior football adviser.
Joe Judge, who primarily coached special teams throughout his career, worked as an offensive assistant and helped Patricia handle the offense.
The Patriots ended the year with an 8-9 record and failed to qualify for the playoffs. New England hosts the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 10 to open the 2023 season.
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