Patriots reportedly waive QBs Bailey Zappe, Malik Cunningham


Mac Jones is currently the lone quarterback on New England’s roster.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots have waived backup quarterback Bailey Zappe. AP Photo/John Amis

The Patriots are reportedly down to just one quarterback on their depth chart.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots have waived backup quarterback Bailey Zappe, with Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweeting minutes later that fellow QB/WR Malik Cunningham has also been waived. 

With fellow signal-caller Trace McSorley also cut on Monday, Mac Jones stands as the lone quarterback on New England’s 2023 roster. Bill Belichick and his staff will now be on the search for another backup option behind Jones.

“Zappe Fever” considerably cooled off this summer, with the 2022 fourth-round pick going from a mid-season starter last year to a roster-cut casualty after a lackluster showing during training camp and preseason play.

With Jones earning almost all of the reps with New England’s first-team offense during camp, Zappe struggled to stack together positive practice days under center.

According to’s Mark Daniels, Zappe completed 64 percent (160-of-252) of his passes to go with seven interceptions in 11-on-11 drills this summer. Zappe earned the majority of the snaps during New England’s preseason finale against the Titans last Friday, but failed to impress. Along with completing just 8 of 15 passes, Zappe fumbled the ball three times. 

Zappe performed admirably last season after getting pressed into NFL action as a rookie, taking over as New England’s QB for a four-game stretch with both Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer injured. He completed 65 of his 92 passes (70.7% completion percentage) with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Still, Zappe’s dip in play this year and his struggles to adjust to Bill O’Brien’s reworked offense put him on the outside looking in at New England’s 53-man roster.

Cunningham’s unique skillset as a gadget player was put on full display during his standout fourth-quarter performance against the Texans in New England’s preseason opener. 

But some of the momentum he generated in that debut dissipated over the last few weeks, especially as Cunningham’s reps at QB have started to dry up.

After not taking any snaps under center on Aug. 19 against the Packers, he only took part in two series in the third and fourth quarters against the Titans. As QB, Cunningham went 0-for-2 on the throws, while also gaining one yard on the ground.

Given his struggles to adjust to his new position at wide receiver, Cunningham was going to have an uphill climb making the initial 53-man squad.

However, Karen Guregian of did tweet that the Patriots will try to keep both Zappe and Cunningham on their practice squad if they clear waivers. 

Cunningham could hold value as a useful scout-team QB and should benefit from more reps as he tries to develop into a versatile asset in the NFL. Still, his athleticism and potential could make him a target for another team to pluck him off waivers.