Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham’s split from the New England Patriots appears to have been short-lived. Both quarterbacks are expected to return to the team’s practice roster just a day after they were waived in the wake of roster cuts, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday.
NFL teams had to reduce their rosters to 53 players by Tuesday afternoon. The firings of Zappe and Cunningham left quarterback Mac Jones in his third year with the Patriots.
Both signal callers have approved the exemptions and are expected to return to Foxborough.
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Zappe played four games for New England last year, starting two games for the injured Jones. He was the 2022 fourth-round draft pick from Western Kentucky.
Cunningham was not drafted in this year’s draft from Louisville.
Patriots’ Malik CUNNINGHAM set to play anywhere after great preseason: ‘It’s a blessing just to be here’
According to ESPN, New England could still be looking to add more players to the quarterback space. Meanwhile, Zappe will likely support Jones on matchdays.
Before the Patriots decided which players to add to the 53-man roster, coach Bill Belichick said the team will be making more adjustments to its roster over the next few days.
“I want to warn you not to think things are over when they’re not necessarily over on many levels,” he said. “Some players that we sack will come back and play for us and be on the training team. We don’t know exactly what they will be, but we have a general idea.”
After a solid rookie performance in 2021 and a trip to the playoffs, Jones struggled last season. He appeared in 14 games, throwing 14 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Belichick made an unconventional decision last year when he declined to name an official offensive coordinator. Instead, longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia tended largely to the offensive side of the ball, working as senior football advisor.
Joe Judge, who primarily coached special teams throughout his career, worked as an offensive assistant and helped Patricia manage offense.
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The Patriots ended the year 8-9, failing to qualify for the playoffs. New England hosts the reigning NFC champions Philadelphia Eagles on September 10 to open the 2023 season.