Some news and notes on this Wednesday:
Zappe’s Departure Surprising
The New England Patriots needed to cut down to 53 players on Tuesday, which left the club with some difficult decisions as they did their best to try and solidify areas of need at the expense of a couple of key names.
Bailey Zappe was among the names waived on Tuesday, which certainly surprised most people primarily due to the fact the Patriots had no one behind Mac Jones on the depth chart.
There’s no question this preseason wasn’t Zappe’s best body of work, but he filled in relatively well in his four appearances last season, putting together some impressive performances.
He took Aaron Rodgers down to the wire in Green Bay in relief of Brian Hoyer, who went down with a concussion early in that contest and likely would have won the game if Matt Patricia hadn’t been so conservative down the stretch.
Zappe then won his next two starts, and brought the club back against Chicago in relief of Jones, who got the starting nod that week but had a rough beginning after clearly still being hampered by his ankle injury. He was replaced by Zappe in the first half, with Zappe starting off strong while later also struggling in the second half.
Malik Cunningham was also waived, but that didn’t come as quite a surprise since after a decent showing in week one, things had been fairly quiet for him. As a result, it seemed like there was a good chance Cunningham might clear waivers and make it back onto the club’s practice squad.
According to MassLive.com’s Karen Guregian, the team hopes to get both quarterbacks back on the practice squad, but it’s tough to say whether or not another team might put in a claim given Zappe’s resume.
Could the Patriots Pursue a Veteran QB?
If Zappe is claimed elsewhere, the Patriots will find themselves in a bit of a bind with less than two weeks until the season starts to try and get someone else up to speed.
A couple of names that have been floated as possibilities should Zappe end up elsewhere could be Colt McCoy or Will Grier, with Trevor Siemian also among names released yesterday. Grier has since been picked up by Cincinnati, so he’s off the market.
Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston also suggested that the club could make a call to former personnel director Nick Caserio in Houston to inquire about potentially making a trade for Case Keenum if they do decide to go that route.
For now, this remains something to watch, with things hopefully becoming a little more clear later on once the noon deadline to claim players passes.
Former defensive back Jason McCourty talked about the move on Good Morning Football, and he believes Zappe will be back rather than for the club to pursue a veteran.
“I don’t see Bill going for one of those guys,” said McCourty. “There’s a few young guys that were released, like a Tommy DeVito with the Giants, but you have a young Bailey Zappe, so why trade him in for another young guy? So it took me to the point where I’m like, ‘Bailey Zappe’s coming back at some point.”
“This is no different than 2021. Mac Jones becomes the starter, Cam Newton’s released, Brian Hoyer’s released, and then Hoyer’s brought the next day on the practice squad eventually to be elevated. Yes, they’re gambling a little bit here, Bailey Zappe could get picked up on waivers, but I think this is a move where they’re trying to do some other things on the roster. Some other guys might have had to make the initial team and then be placed on IR where they can come back later in the season.”
“I expect Bailey Zappe to be back in the building and for him to be Mac Jones’ backup.”
Numbers Left the Patriots Set Up Tough Decisions
With wide receiver and offensive line being two big areas of importance, it left the Patriots going with six receivers and eleven offensive linemen, with the latter being one that they’ve obviously bolstered given the issues they’ve endured this preseason.
As a result, they didn’t have much margin for error. In what’s obviously a numbers game, Zappe joined a few players who were surprising cuts.
Ronnie Perkins was also a name that certainly stood out on Tuesday, especially given the performances he put together to close out the preseason. He finished second on the team in tackles against the Titans Friday night and had a memorable “tough guy” moment where he threw up just before Tennessee snapped the football and came up and made the tackle.
Another name that was somewhat interesting was J.J. Taylor, who, after four years, finally seemed poised to emerge on the active roster following his best preseason to date. Instead, Taylor found himself waived yet again, and while reports appear hopeful that he’ll be brought back, it sounds like he may not be interested as he would reportedly “like to get a fresh start” with another team.
His departure was surprising in the sense that it appeared he had potentially earned a role as the number three back behind both Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, especially after the club traded Pierre Strong Jr. to Cleveland over the weekend.
That leaves the Patriots a little thin if they can’t get Taylor back on their practice squad and either Stevenson or Elliott were to go down with an injury.
But the other issue is that due to the league’s rules when it comes to placing players on injured reserve with the option to return, it requires them to make the initial roster before being given that designation.
That likely came into play on Tuesday, with both Tyquan Thornton and Reilly Reiff being two names that immediately come to mind if that’s ultimately what happens since they took up two spots on the roster that would have been used to keep two others in the fold.
Again, it’s a numbers game and there are always winners and losers. The only question now will be how things might shake out once the dust settles, which should be interesting to watch, especially as they begin adding players to their practice squad.
Who Did the Patriots Cut Yesterday?
Just to round things out, according to the league’s transaction wire, here’s the full list of players waived by the team on Tuesday:
- DB Joshua Bledsoe
- QB Malik Cunningham
- RB Kevin Harris
- G Chasen Hines
- G Bill Murray
- DE Ronnie Perkins
- DE Jeremiah Pharms
- WR Thyrick Pitts
- C Kody Russey
- TE Matt Sokol
- T Andrew Stueber
- RB J.J. Taylor
- WR Raleigh Webb
- QB Bailey Zappe
- C James Ferentz
- TE Anthony Firkser
- LB Joe Giles-Harris
- WR Ty Montgomery
- LB Calvin Munson
Reserve List Additions:
- DB Isaiah Bolden (IR)
- DB Cody Davis (PUP)
- LB Trey Flowers (PUP)
- T Conor McDermott (IR)
We’ll have more later on following the waiver deadline.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bailey Zappe Case Keenum Colt McCoy Ezekiel Elliott J.J. Taylor Jason McCourty Mac Jones Malik Cunningham Reilly Reiff Rhamondre Stevenson Ronnie Perkins Trevor Siemian Tyquan Thornton Will Grier