In one of the most surprising moves of the weekend, the Patriots not only elevated one of their quarterbacks to the 53-man roster but also handed him a new contract.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots have signed Malik Cunningham to their 53-man roster by also giving him a 3-year contract.
Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but the move is significant as it clearly shows the confidence he’s built in recent weeks, which certainly coincides with Bill Belichick’s comments on Friday.
“Malik’s really worked hard and made a lot of improvement,” said Belichick on Friday. “He never really played in the kicking game at Louisville, so he’s started to show up there, never played receiver – didn’t look very good either, in the spring, but he’s really improved there.”
“He can catch the ball, but just route running and finding zones and things like that. But, it’s come pretty naturally to him. He plays a good amount of quarterback. He’s competent there. He’s a smart kid, works hard, and the opportunities he’s had, he’s shown a lot of improvement. It’s a little too early for an induction ceremony here, but definitely a lot of improvement.”
Why they opted to make the move now is obviously a big question, although perhaps another team inquired about signing him off New England’s practice squad, which may have potentially resulted in the move.
Either way, it certainly changes things. Given the Patriots problems the last couple of weeks, it also could add some additional pressure on Mac Jones, who will need to be at his best on Sunday out in Las Vegas if he hopes to retain the job as starting quarterback after two rough weeks against both Dallas and New Orleans.
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