Some news and notes for this morning:
Patriots Snatch QB Corral Away From Panthers
With Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham both returning to the practice squad after being placed on waivers earlier this week, the Patriots brought in an additional quarterback who appears set to compete to be Mac Jones’ backup heading into Week 1 against the Eagles.
The club reportedly claimed former Panthers quarterback Matt Corral on Thursday, with the 2022 third-round pick finding himself on the outside looking in one day following Carolina’s roster cutdowns.
It’s a funny turn of events considering Corral was actually part of a deal in 2022 that brought Zappe to New England. That unfolded after Carolina made a draft-day trade with the Patriots to move up to 94th overall, netting an additional 4th-round pick that they used to take the former Western Kentucky quarterback, with the other selection they picked up in 2023 turning out to be Marte Mapu.
Now, one year later, the Patriots have the two players among their list of signal-callers.
Corral initially survived the first round of roster cutdowns, with new head coach Frank Reich being a little elusive when answering questions about the club carrying three quarterbacks on its roster. The Panthers drafted Bryce Young earlier this April and also brought in veteran Andy Dalton to mentor him.
Like the Patriots, Carolina had other areas on their active roster where they needed the depth. So, one day later, the Panthers crossed their fingers, hoping Corral would clear waivers and spend the year on the club’s practice squad.
“I don’t mind saying, I would love to Matt back,” said Reich on Thursday. “We think he’s done very well, we’d like to see him continue to progress.”
Instead, Reich’s gamble didn’t pay off, and it appears any progress his now-former quarterback makes will happen here in New England.
The Patriots got a look at the former Ole Miss standout last preseason against the Panthers at Gillette Stadium. In that game, Corral finished 9-of-15 (60%) for 58 yards, but unlike teammate Phillip Walker (who threw two interceptions), he didn’t turn it over.
Corral’s completion rate was a significant improvement from the week before, when he completed just 1-of-9 for 11 yards during Carolina’s meeting against Washington.
Oddly enough, it was the game against New England where Corral suffered the Lisfranc ligament tear that cost him his rookie season, after the young quarterback saw his foot get stepped on. Former head coach Matt Rhule called a “significant” injury prior to the quarterback ending up on injured reserve, and it was certainly a setback for a player who so many believed could help the club moving forward.
Now, after potentially being part of Carolina’s future, Reich has purged several of Rhule’s previous draft picks, which opened the door for Corral to potentially grow as a player here with the Patriots.
Whether or not their loss is New England’s gain remains to be seen. But for now, he’ll likely be scrambling a bit to learn the offense as the Patriots continue preparing to open the season next Sunday against Philadelphia at Gillette Stadium.
Eagles Don’t Have a Punter on its Active Roster
One interesting bit of news coming out of Philadelphia is the fact that the Eagles are apparently still trying to figure out who is going to punt for them in 2023.
Their previous punter, Arryn Siposs was among the final cuts as Philadelphia pared its roster down to 53 this week, which initially left them without someone to handle those duties.
Fortunately, Siposs ended up on the practice squad, but any chance of being promoted doesn’t appear to be guaranteed. They’re reportedly auditioning three other players for the role, with Pat O’Donnell (released by the Packers Tuesday), Colby Wadman (released by Washington Tuesday), and Blake Gillikin (waived by New Orleans Tuesday) among guys who the Patriots could see out there in just over a week.
Siposs left most Eagles fans with a bad taste in their mouths after his shank in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs in the fourth quarter helped set up what ended up being a 65-yard punt return by the Chiefs’ Kadarius Toney with just over 10 minutes to go in the game.
Three plays later, after starting things off at the Eagles’ 5-yard line, Kansas City was in the end zone, which at the time extended the Chiefs’ lead to 35-27.
In a game where every single play was critical, that was certainly a big one, especially since the final score ended up being 38-35 with Kansas City eeking that one out.
With the 2023 season closing in, Siposs finds himself still a member of the Eagles, but it’s hard to say how much longer he’ll last.
Whether or not he’s out there next weekend remains to be seen, as it appears Philadelphia is still exploring its options to figure out who they’ll trot out there against the Patriots less than 10 days from now.
Former Vikings WR Reagor Joins Patriots
With Tyquan Thornton on injured reserve to begin the season, the Patriots made a move on Thursday to add some additional depth.
According to multiple reports, New England added former 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor, with Reagor signing with the team’s practice squad.
Reagor, who was waived by the Vikings on Tuesday and subsequently cleared waivers, is certainly an interesting player. He’s a former first-round pick, having been selected 21st overall by Philadelphia back in 2020.
Like former Patriots wideout N’Keal Harry, Reagor’s name appears to be a frustrating one for Eagles fans, although they apparently have a reason to hope he’s productive.
Philadelphia traded him to Minnesota ahead of the 2022 regular season in exchange for a seventh-round pick, along with a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 if he met certain criteria.
According to Jimmy Kempski of the Philadelphia Voice, that would require Reagor to finish the 2023 season with 40 receptions for at least 500 receiving yards along with 5 touchdowns.
If Reagor doesn’t meet that criteria, it would become a fifth-round pick.
Given how deep the Patriots depth chart is, the likelihood of that happening seems like a longshot.
He apparently had a tough run ahead of being traded to Minnesota. He missed five games during his rookie year after tearing a ligament in his thumb and then followed that up with a less-than-impressive 2021 season where he found himself behind DeVonta Smith after Smith became the Eagles’ primary target. And things got worse for him after he had two muffed punts in the postseason, including one he turned over, which contributed to a loss in the postseason against the Buccaneers.
That left Eagles fans not exactly sorry to see him go, although he should certainly be motivated to prove everyone wrong now that he’s here in New England.
Odds and Ends
The Patriots sent out a Tweet on Thursday indicating they’ve assigned new numbers to their rookies ahead of Sunday’s game. Kicker Chad Ryland will apparently wear #37, defensive back Christian Gonzalez will wear #6, punter Bryce Baringer will wear #17, and offensive lineman Sidy Sow will wear #62. … Apparently, one former Patriot wasn’t surprised to see Corral land in New England. Former Patriots wideout Damiere Byrd Tweeted, “I knew Bill was gonna claim Corral,” closing out the Tweet with a laughing emoji. … Running back Ezekiel Elliott told reporters on Thursday that he’s settling in, crediting the team with making things as easy as they can be. “The organization has done a great job of just providing me with all the tools I need to make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Elliott. “I’m getting there.” … With the North end zone now closed in thanks to the addition of the new giant video board and club areas, one big question will be the noise factor this season at Gillette Stadium. The change also prompted a new logo, with the stadium’s channel on Twitter unveiling the new design Friday morning, which reflects the new and much larger lighthouse that’s part of the current one that is expected to debut next weekend.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Arryn Siposs Jalen Reagor Matt Corral